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Hamilton shrinks accountability partner's role

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Josh Hamilton's days of having an accountability partner who is constantly by his side are over. For 2014, the Angels' outfielder has, as he put it, "downsized the role," going with someone who will be with him only on the road and who will not dress for games as an additional coach.

"It's time to cut the cord a little bit," Hamilton said. "I don't really use it for home games. I go to the park, I do what I need to do, I know what I need to do, and I have my family. That was one of the main reasons."

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When Hamilton got back into baseball in 2007, Johnny Narron served in that role. In February 2012, three months after Narron took the job as Brewers hitting coach -- and less than a month after Hamilton's step-father backed out in order to be with his family -- Shayne Kelley stepped in.

Kelley was employed by the Rangers and the Angels and was with Hamilton at virtually all times during the 2012 and '13 regular seasons. But now, given Hamilton's decision to limit the role, the two sides felt it would be best for Kelley to move on to something else.

"Shayne loves sports and stuff," Hamilton said. "We talked about it and figured it would be better for him to pursue whatever he wants to do."

Taking Kelley's place on a part-time basis will be Boyd Bassham, whom Hamilton knows from his church in Texas. Bassham will fly to road games from his Dallas-area home, continue with the team to any other city they visit on the trip, then return home when the Angels return to Southern California.

Bassham will attend all road games except those in Arlington and in Houston. Chad Harrington, who has known Hamilton for five years and, as Hamilton said, "loves me a lot," will step in for games in Texas.

Both men will continue to handle Hamilton's meal money, and neither is all that interested in baseball, which Hamilton considers a good thing. Most importantly, Hamilton -- now 32 and eight years removed from being sidelined because of harrowing addictions to drugs and alcohol -- feels he has come a long enough way.

"You don't say you don't need it, but I have other people in my life to pick it up -- whether it be [wife] Katie or just spiritual mentors," Hamilton said. "And Boyd, he doesn't know anything about sports. He knows about baseball, he knows who I am and he knows what I do, but it's going to be more of a spiritual thing."

Hamilton's wife and the couple's four daughters are with him in Arizona.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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