PEORIA, Ariz. – Different day, different scene, same old PED drip.
Saturday, it was suspended Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal atoning for his synthetic sins, first by apologizing to his team in an early morning clubhouse meeting, then by reading a brief statement to reporters and refusing to take questions.
Alex Rodriguez, Gio Gonzalez, Melky Cabrera, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz, Francisco Cervelli ... what's different about Grandal is that he's in lockup, already suspended for 50 games in November after testing positive for testosterone. The others have been linked through documents to a Miami clinic now at the center of another PED scandal.
Grandal had issued nary a word publicly since then, until the Padres' first full-squad workout on Saturday.
“Last November, I admitted taking a banned substance and accepted my punishment of a 50-game suspension,” Grandal read from a prepared statement shortly after noon at the Padres' complex. “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.”
He took no questions, baseball or otherwise.
Padres players seemed satisfied with Grandal's private mea culpa. He will participate in spring training and prepare for the season, though he cannot play until late May.
His suspension becomes a fortuitous opportunity for Nick Hundley, who logged plenty of time with the Padres in 2010 and 2011 before being banished to Triple-A Tucson during a miserable 2012 season, and for backup John Baker.
Grandal, 23, became an emerging star after being summoned to the majors last June, hitting .297 with eight homers and an .863 OPS in 60 games for the Padres.
The Padres' problem now is how much of that was real and how much was a mirage? Is a clean Grandal still that player, or will he be a lesser player?
“He's a talented player,” manager Bud Black said of Grandal, who was picked 12th overall (Reds) in the first round of the 2010 draft. “He was on the scouts' radar early on. His skill set exhibits a high-caliber player.”
Black described Grandal's apology to his teammates as a “first step.”
“It's part of what he needs to do,” Black said. “He'll continue to make amends moving forward.”
Sunblock day? Heck, yes. Easily the warmest day of the week in the Cactus League, with the temperature climbing into the 70s.
Likes: Old friend Jacque Jones working as a hitting coach in the Padres' organization. The former Twin is slated to be the hitting coach at Double-A San Antonio this summer. Quality guy with lots of knowledge. He has good career ahead of him in the coaching world. … Josh Hamilton's sense of humor in Angels camp. … Manager Bruce Bochy's son, Brett, in uniform in the Giants' camp. The right-hander had a great year pitching in Double-A last season in the Giants' system, and we could see him in the majors this summer. … Mavis Staples and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, among others, on Levon Helms' The Weight during the Grammys on Sunday. Each lady is phenomenal, and each brought her A game to the Grammys. What a performance. … Jamba Juice. … Peter Ames Carlin's "Bruce," an excellent biography of Bruce Springsteen published last fall. … Snagged a ticket to the Bonnie Raitt concert Sunday night in Mesa, near the Cubs camp. Will be a great way to end the weekend. … My alma mater, St. Mary Catholic Central (Monroe, Mich.), crushing crosstown rival Jefferson 72-35 in high school hoops on Friday night. Nicely done, Falcons.
Dislikes: Attempting to figure out a way to print a couple of needed documents from my computer through the hotel's printer. I'm already digitally challenged enough at home. …
Rock ‘n' Roll Lyric of the Day:
“I started as an altar boy, working at the church
“Learning all my holy moves, doing some research
“Which led me to a cash box, labeled ‘Children's Fund'
“I'd leave the change, and tuck the bills inside my cummerbund
“I got a part-time job at my father's carpet store
“Laying tackless stripping and housewives by the score
“I loaded up their furniture and took it to Spokane
“And auctioned off every last naugahyde divan
“I'm very well aquainted with the seven deadly sins
“I keep a busy schedule trying to fit them in
“I'm proud to be a glutton, and I don't have time for sloth
“I'm greedy, and I'm angry, and I don't care who I cross”
-- Warren Zevon, Mr. Bad Example