HURST On Saturday, Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton made his first public appearance in North Texas since a well-documented relapse with alcohol.

Hamilton drove up to an appearance at the LifeWay Christian Store in Hurst to sign copies of his new book, Beyond Belief. Hamilton has struggled with alcohol and drug abuse for years and turned to his faith to cope.

The AmericanLeague Most Valuable Player emerged from a black pickup truck behind the store wearing a black T-shirt, a backwards baseball cap and sunglasses. He was seen giving a kiss to his wife, Katie, who drove up in a separate vehicle.

Photographers were shooed away as Hamilton entered the store through a rear entrance.

Hundreds, many wearing Rangers gear, braved the cold temperatures to support the baseball superstar. People slip, you know... it's a recovery process, said Hamilton fan Josh Plowman. People slip up. It happens.

Just after admitting his relapse two weeks ago, Hamilton kept a commitment to appear at a Houston-area Christian conference, but this was his first public appearance in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since then.

On Friday, the team's general manager Jon Daniels said talks about extending Hamilton's contract beyond 2012 would be postponed.

Spring training begins later this month.

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