The first Saturday of spring training was "difficult but something I had to do" for Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal.
First, the 24-year-old switch hitter faced his teammates in a closed-door session, apologizing for testing positive for testosterone last September in violation of Major League Baseball's policy prohibiting performance-enhancing drugs. Grandal will open the season on a 50-game suspension.
Then he appeared before the media, reading a statement but fielding no questions.
"This is a tough day for him," teammate and fellow University of Miami product Yonder Alonso said of Grandal's first public pronouncements since he was suspended Nov. 7. "I thought he handled it well. I know him. I know he was sincere. He handled himself great. We're all learning from this."
Outfielder Mark Kotsay said: "He was straight to the point. He accepted responsibility. He didn't just get up there and apologize. He said he hoped we would accept his apology. He's young and he got bad advice. I'm not sure this had anything to do with performance. I think he was trying to get back from that injury."
Grandal was on the disabled list from July 31 to Aug. 17 last season with a strained oblique muscle.
Grandal's statement: "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 (Biogenesis), 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."
Padres manager Bud Black called Grandal's apology to his teammates "a first step, part of what he needs to do ... part of what he wanted to do. He apologized to the group for what he had done."
Outfielder Will Venable said, "It's good. He was sincere from a very tough position. He handled it well. He said what he needed to say and it sounded very sincere. We want and need him to be part of this team."
Said Alonso: "Yaz is really a good guy who made a big mistake. It's done and over. We have to move forward from here. He's a good teammate."
No one offered any details of what Grandal said or heard from teammates during the closed-door meeting.
"I've heard everything I need to know," Black said. "I trust him. He apologized to me in November. He let me know in November that it wouldn't happen again. What was said in that room, stays in that room."