On Tuesday San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera began a 50-game suspension for his connection to the Biogenesis scandal. But before he disappeared for the remainder of the season, Cabrera admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in an emotional statement on Monday, then addressed his teammates in a pregame speech on Tuesday.
Cabrera gave what has been described as an emotional, bilingual pregame speech to his teammates, apologizing for his actions. He expressed remorse, much like he did when addressing the media on Monday.
In his statement on Monday he admitted to taking a banned substance before or during Spring Training in 2012 on the advice of Juan Nunez, a member of his former representation. He took the substance to help heal a shoulder injury he suffered while playing in Triple-A during the 2011 season.
He claims Nunez took him to meet Biogenesis clinic founder Anthony Bosch. Cabrera told Bosch he wanted a healthy shoulder. He later took something that arrived in a package from Bosch.
Cabrera, who is from Nicaragua, said the following through an interpreter:
In 2012, when I made the decision to take this, my shoulder wasn’t even at 50 percent, and I wanted to be healthy for the spring. I was going through a frustrating time. And like I said before, I made the decision to take this. I’m the one responsible for this. But I do want to make it clear I did not search for this. This was something that was presented to me. My former representation were the ones who introduced me to this person.
My heart and conscience were killing me. I was scared in my heart. I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do. It wasn’t the best decision, and even when I went in that clinic, I felt scared.
Never in my life or baseball career did I ever consider taking these substances. Even when I went to Spring Training, I wasn’t comfortable with what I was doing.
Cabrera then switched to speaking English to apologize to his teammates, the organization and the team’s fans. He had to pause repeatedly to take breaths before ultimately breaking down and crying the middle of a statement:
My situation I have right now … I’m very sorry with all my fans in San Diego with this situation. I’m very sorry with my organization. I’m very sorry with all my teammates and I’m very sorry about this situation I have right now. It’s a tough situation for me. It’s a tough situation for the organization and I’m making all my responsibility is just me.
He began to say something more about the fans, then broke down.
Cabrera will not be paid during the suspension and seems to know he has a lot of work to do to get back in his team’s good graces. Still his long-time teammates seem willing to forgive and move on.
Chase Headley, considered one of the clubhouse leaders on the Padres, had the following to say about Cabrera’s suspension:
In one sense you’re angry, you’re frustrated, you’re tired of talking about it. But on the other hand, you’ve got a teammate going through a difficult situation, so it’s mixed emotions. This hurts our team, obviously, so in that respect there may be some of those feelings. But, there’s also a feeling of I’ve been around this guy for four or five years and you can see the emotion that’s coming out of him.
Cabrera was enjoying a breakout season so far in 2013. He will finish the season with a .283 batting average, four home runs, 31 RBIs and a .355 on-base percentage. He had also scored 54 runs and stolen a National League-best 37 bases. He was selected to his first All-Star Game in July.