2/16/2013 4:15 P.M. ET
Grandal issues apology to Padres for suspension
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- As it turns out, Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal didn't wait until Saturday to convey an apologetic message to all of his teammates for his 50-game suspension.
Grandal, who in November was flagged for his use of performance-enhancing drugs, pulled teammate and fellow catcher Nick Hundley aside earlier this week in Peoria.
"I appreciated that. He was up front and honest. Obviously, it's an embarrassing situation, one that is going to follow him around for the rest of his life," Hundley said.
"He apologized, but I told him don't ever apologize to me again. It's time to turn a new page and go to work."
Before the start of the Padres' first full-squad workout on Saturday, Grandal, in a closed-door meeting, stood in front of his teammates and coaches who gathered in the clubhouse. His speech was concise.
"I think more than anything, he apologized for what this did to our group," manager Bud Black said. "He needs to continue making amends moving forward. This is part of what he wanted to do."
Later, Grandal, speaking to reporters for the first time since his suspension for testosterone was levied by Major League Baseball on Nov. 7, read a prepared statement but declined to answer questions on the advice of his legal counsel.
The statement read:
"Last November, I admitted taking a banned substance and accepted my punishment of a 50-game suspension. I have taken full responsibility for my actions and apologized to my teammates, the fans and the San Diego Padres organization. I plan to put that mistake behind me, serve my suspension and continue working hard to be the best player and teammate I can be.
I am aware of the various press reports about so-called patient files from a Miami clinic, and that Major League Baseball and others are investigating those allegations. I intend to cooperate fully in their investigations. I have been instructed by legal counsel not to answer questions relating to the pending investigations. Based on that legal advice, I will have no further comment.
Again, I realize that I made a big mistake and I very much look forward to returning to the field."
The 24-year-old Grandal added that he would answer only baseball-related questions moving forward.
His teammates, as a whole, seemed appeased by what they heard on Saturday.
"He was sincere in what he said," outfielder Will Venable said. "It's a tough position, one he put himself in, but I think he handled himself well.
"He's my teammate; he's someone we need on this team. For me personally, my issues with the whole [PED] thing go beyond Yas."
Grandal received his suspension without pay after violating the Drug Prevention and Treatment Program set forth by Major League Baseball.
Late January, Grandal's name surfaced in an investigation of the Miami-based company, Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic that has been linked to several Major League players including the Brewers' Ryan Braun and the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez.
Grandal, who was one of four players the Padres obtained from the Reds in December of 2011, made his Major League debut with the team on June 2. In his first start against the Rockies on June 30, Grandal hit two home runs.
He later missed 17 games with a strained right oblique muscle. All told, Grandal hit .297 with eight home runs and 36 RBIs in 60 games. He would have been the starting catcher to begin the season.
Grandal is allowed to play in Spring Training games and the Padres have 38 of them this spring -- a club record. That said, Black said that most of the playing time this spring will go to the two catchers who can break camp with the team late next month, Hundley and John Baker.
"He's [Grandal] going to play, but we've got to get guys ready for the season," Black said.
Black said Grandal will likely remain behind in Peoria and play in extended spring games in Arizona. And while Grandal isn't eligible to return to the Padres' active 25-man roster until May 28 in Seattle, he can consent to a Minor League assignment to an affiliate for a period up to 10 days before returning.
It will be determined by the team at a later date when and where that assignment would begin, though it could very well precede his reinstatement to the 25-man roster on May 28.
Black said he's still excited about Grandal and the player he can be moving forward.
"He's a talented player. He was on scout's radar early on as an amateur player. He's got a skill-set that exhibits high-caliber play; a switch-hitting catcher who can hit for average, has some pop, defensively, has good hands, he blocks the ball well, a solid arm," Black said.
"He has to continue to go about being a Major League player. And as it pertains to this issue, don't do it again."