Hamilton hopes his latest relapse was the last

JANIE McCAULEY AP Baseball Writer Published:

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) -- Slugger Josh Hamilton says he's in a much better place emotionally and spiritually the past three weeks. He heads into spring training with the Texas Rangers encouraged since beginning both solo counseling and sessions with his wife following an alcohol relapse late last month.

Outside the Rangers' clubhouse Friday, Hamilton held a Bible, recited a half-dozen verses that have influenced him recently and said he will no longer throw a "Band-aid" over his addiction and communication issues but rather look for a long-term solution. He says, "I don't like continuing to make mistakes, it jumps up and bites me."

Yet Hamilton acknowledges he is in for a lifelong battle. He says he also understands why the Rangers have tabled contract talks.