Skip to content

Is Josh Hamilton losing weight a sign of … something?

Feb 14, 2013, 2:14 PM EDT

Josh Hamilton

I’ll preface all of this by saying that the author of the piece I am about to link, Jeff Pearlman, is fully aware that he’s throwing something of a bomb here.  That said, unlike some others people, I do not believe Pearlman is throwing a bomb for the sake of throwing a bomb. He’s not being cute or coy here and he fully acknowledges the limits of his knowledge. These are simply questions which genuinely occur to him and, whether you agree with him or not, he isn’t afraid to ask them.

He also knows fully well that I and a lot of other people are going to have a problem with this. Indeed, I talked to him online after I read it late this morning and he knows fully well that I’m gonna take issue with it. Indeed, I’ve taken enough issue with Pearlman over the years that he and have come to talk on occasion about these sorts of things, and while they haven’t done much to bridge the pretty large gap we have when it comes to PEDs in baseball, it is enough to give me comfort that he’s not just trolling and that when Pearlman does throw bombs it’s because he believes in what he’s saying, not because he simply wants to create chaos. You can decide for yourself if you think that’s worth anything, but it means at least a little something to me.

With all of that said, let’s get down to brass tacks: Pearlman looks at Josh Hamilton’s 20 pound weight loss this offseason with suspicion:

First, to be clear: I don’t know if Josh Hamilton used PEDs. I’d long assumed he hadn’t, because the idea of an ex-drug addict taking, well, drugs didn’t make much sense to me … And yet …in the modern era of baseball, with all we know and all we’ve seen and all the recent news concerning Alex Rodriguez and Gio Gonzalez and Ryan Braun and numerous others, well … I’m just not so sure we can continue to take reports like this at face value … I don’t know if Hamilton’s using. I really don’t. But one must be skeptical.

Pearlman offers examples of curious weight gain and weight loss — Pudge Rodriguez’s weight loss maybe being the most memorable example for all of us — and my inference from this anyway is that there is suspicion to be had about Josh Hamilton it’s that he lost a lot of weight just as scrutiny and testing is being ratcheted up again.

His ultimate end: for someone to ask Hamilton and others “the hard questions” about such things. I’m not sure what the hard question is. I’m not sure why weight loss is a sufficient predicate for a question and/or accusation of PED use. As we note with silliness all spring, lots of players yo-yo in weight. Are we supposed to ask them all these “hard questions?”

Heck, it’s not even about giving someone the benefit of the doubt. It’s about what in the hell is supposed to create doubt in the first place. In the past people have looked at all sorts of things to create that doubt, and half the time it’s silly. Home run totals, without reference to park size or expansion. Head size, as if we are able to measure such a thing. Back acne as if it can only be caused by steroids. Failure to prove negatives, which is something only baseball writers seem to think is an acceptable expectation. Acting out in anger as if all anger = ‘roid rage. With Pearlman, it’s weight fluctuation. That’s not enough to say anything with certainty, he says. But it’s enough to prompt more questions. We are required he says — we must! — be skeptical.

I simply can’t buy that. At some point you have to assume that the game has a strong testing program and, barring something actually indicative of PED use, take its negative results at face value. Weight loss isn’t doing it for me. I’m not sure who else besides Pearlman it should actually do it for.

Latest Posts
  1. Rangers release Ryan Ludwick

    Mar 29, 2015, 11:55 PM EDT

    Ryan Ludwick Ryan Ludwick

    Ryan Ludwick didn’t hit much during Cactus League play, resulting in the Rangers releasing him on Sunday.

  2. Nick Martinez wins No. 5 spot in Rangers’ starting rotation

    Mar 29, 2015, 11:20 PM EDT

    Nick Martinez AP

    Nick Martinez beat out the field to win the final spot in the Rangers’ starting rotation.

  3. Mike Pelfrey recants his comments about the Twins trading him

    Mar 29, 2015, 10:25 PM EDT

    Mike Pelfrey Mike Pelfrey

    Mike Pelfrey took back his comments about being happy with a trade to a team that would use him as a starter.

  4. Video: Ben Revere robs Rajai Davis of a home run

    Mar 29, 2015, 9:20 PM EDT

    Ben Revere Ben Revere

    Ben Revere broke a promise to Rajai Davis when the Phillies’ left fielder robbed a home run.

  5. Casey Janssen to undergo an MRI on his right shoulder

    Mar 29, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT

    Casey Janssen Casey Janssen

    Nationals reliever Casey Janssen is dealing with more shoulder problems, which could lead to a stint on the disabled list.

  6. Dan Uggla on potential bench role with Nationals: “That’s not what I’m looking to do.”

    Mar 29, 2015, 7:10 PM EDT

    Dan Uggla Dan Uggla

    Dan Uggla, who is having a strong spring training showing, says he wouldn’t be comfortable sitting on the Nationals’ bench.

  7. Phillies move Ben Revere to left field to make room for Odubel Herrera in center

    Mar 29, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    Ben Revere Ben Revere

    Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg shook up his outfield a bit on Sunday, announcing that Ben Revere would be moving to left field.

  8. Cole Hamels to start Opening Day for Phillies

    Mar 29, 2015, 5:01 PM EDT

    cole hamels getty Getty Images

    Hamels tossed five scoreless innings in his latest Grapefruit League start. He’ll take on the Red Sox on April 6 — a team he has been connected to in trade talks throughout the offseason.

  9. Christian Vazquez to visit Dr. James Andrews

    Mar 29, 2015, 3:37 PM EDT

    christian vazquez getty Getty Images

    Ryan Hanigan is expected to open the season as Boston’s starting catcher. And season-ending surgery for Vazquez would likely accelerate the timetable for top prospect Blake Swihart’s debut.

  10. Koji Uehara has setback with right hamstring, will not be ready for beginning of season

    Mar 29, 2015, 2:23 PM EDT

    uehara getty Getty Images

    Uehara originally strained his right hamstring on March 17 while doing conditioning drills in Red Sox camp.

  11. Video: Seahawks QB Russell Wilson talks baseball

    Mar 29, 2015, 1:15 PM EDT

    russell wilson

    Russell Wilson spent nearly seven minutes with the Rangers’ television crew on Saturday …

  12. Red Sox name Clay Buchholz as Opening Day starter

    Mar 29, 2015, 12:08 PM EDT

    clay buchholz getty Getty Images

    According to Sean McAdam of CSN New England, the Red Sox have named right-hander Clay Buchholz their Opening Day starter.

  13. Henderson Alvarez named Marlins’ Opening Day starter

    Mar 29, 2015, 11:12 AM EDT

    henderson alvarez getty Getty Images

    Jose Fernandez would have been given the nod, but he’s not expected to be recovered from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery until sometime in June.

  14. Braves release left-hander James Russell

    Mar 29, 2015, 10:14 AM EDT

    james russell getty Getty Images

    MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports that the Braves have released left-hander James Russell.

  15. Ichiro compares being a free agent to being a puppy in a pet shop

    Mar 28, 2015, 11:25 PM EDT

    Ichiro Suzuki Ichiro Suzuki

    Let Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki tell you how being a free agent is like being a puppy in a pet shop.

  16. Mariners prospect Victor Sanchez has died

    Mar 28, 2015, 10:35 PM EDT

    mariners logo

    Promising Mariners pitching prospect Victor Sanchez died on Saturday night after he was involved in an unfortunate boating accident in February.

  17. Nate Schierholtz opts out of contract with the Rangers

    Mar 28, 2015, 10:10 PM EDT

    Nate Schierholtz Nate Schierholtz

    Outfielder Nate Schierholtz is a free agent again, opting out of his contract with the Rangers after a disappointing spring showing.

  18. Videos: Young talent on display as Bryce Harper homers and Mike Trout robs a homer

    Mar 28, 2015, 9:05 PM EDT

    Mike Trout Mike Trout

    Two baseball superstars put their talented display in spring training action on Saturday afternoon.

  19. Jaime Garcia scratched from Sunday start due to shoulder setback

    Mar 28, 2015, 8:05 PM EDT

    Jaime Garcia Jaime Garcia

    More shoulder problems for Jaime Garcia, who has made 16 combined starts since the beginning of the 2013 season.

  20. The Shane Victorino saga with Boston radio personalities continues

    Mar 28, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT

    Shane Victorino Shane Victorino

    Shane Victorino didn’t like the way a pair of radio personalities in Boston interpreted his desire to see the Red Sox acquire Cole Hamels from the Phillies.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Fernandez (4251)
  2. S. Doolittle (3671)
  3. Y. Tomas (3590)
  4. K. Bryant (3549)
  5. H. Olivera (3526)
  1. C. Rodon (3518)
  2. A. Cobb (3452)
  3. G. Richards (3375)
  4. J. Kipnis (3302)
  5. K. Jansen (3278)