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Hamilton has never played more than 156 games in any season.
In his six-year career, Josh Hamilton has never played more than 156 games. In three of those years, he played under 122 games. The left-handed slugger has had some minor injuries throughout his career, but off-the-field drug and alcohol issues continue to be a greater threat to his playing time than anything else.
Hamilton missed the entire 2003, 2004 and 2005 seasons and was fined by Major League Baseball for multiple violations of its drug policy. Since 2009, Hamilton has had two publicly known alcohol-related relapses.
Fans of Hamilton and the Angels alike hope the star can get through his first season in Southern California without any major setbacks. Per ESPN, Hamilton discussed transitioning to a new team and the temptations he may face in a new city:
It's anywhere. It all comes down to choices you make. If you want to get into trouble, you'll get into trouble. Support system is big ... everybody concerned about it being a difficult situation or a unique situation. Well, it's not. My support system is God, my family and Shayne Kelley (Hamilton's accountability partner)—and all those guys are here with me."
On the other side of the coin, Albert Pujols has never played fewer than 143 games in his illustrious 12-year-career (154.9 games played per year average). Baring any major injuries in 2013, Pujols can reliably be penciled in for 150-165 games.
In the offseason, the three-time MVP had a clean-up procedure on his right knee. Pujols will rehab the injury throughout spring training but is confident he will be healthy to start the regular season.