Indians OF Choo arrested on DUI charges

Shin-Soo Choo spent Tuesday afternoon talking to each of his

teammates, one by one, to express how sorry he is for his off-field

arrest on suspicion of drunken driving and the embarrassment it

caused.

The Indians outfielder was arrested Monday after a breathalyzer

test showed he had a blood-alcohol level of .201 – more than double

Ohio’s legal limit of .08.

”I don’t want to make trouble on the team,” Choo said in the

dugout before the first-place Indians opened a three-game series

against the Athletics. ”Every person has to learn. I regret that

this happened. … I apologize.”

After speaking to each player in the clubhouse, Choo also pulled

the Indians into a tight huddle near their dugout before the team

began warmups and batting practice.

Choo, the sixth major league player to be cited on a drunken

driving charge this year, was arrested by police in Sheffield Lake,

Ohio, after he failed a field sobriety test. An officer following

Choo’s white Cadillac SUV said he was driving erratically before he

was stopped.

”I talked to him. He’s human, just like every one of us,”

Indians manager Manny Acta said. ”He made a mistake. We all make

mistakes. The main thing is he’s learning from it. He’s very

remorseful. He’s a guy I’m not going to look at any differently

because of that. He’s a great kid, very high character and we’re

moving on.”

Choo on Tuesday also formally apologized to fans, the team, the

club and his family ”for the attention stemming from this

matter.”

”I am hopeful that this incident will not be a distraction to

the Indians organization while we remain focused on continuing to

play winning baseball,” he said in a statement released by the

Indians.

The 28-year-old South Korean traveled with the team and was in

the starting lineup in right field and batting third against the

A’s. Cleveland began the week with the best record in the

majors.

Third baseman Jack Hannahan said Choo’s approach with his

teammates was sincere and appreciated.

”He’s a great guy and a great teammate,” Hannahan said.

”Choo’s a big leader on this team. He’s tough as nails. He’s being

a man about it and accepting it. It’d be easy to kind of hide and

let it blow over. He’s not letting it be a distraction. Now it’s

behind us, we’re moving forward and we’re not going to let it

affect the team.”

Acta doesn’t expect Choo to have any issues with his teammates

because ”they know what he’s about.”

Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said the club spoke to

Choo about the incident.

”The Indians organization takes these issues very seriously and

we are disappointed in the matter,” Antonetti said in a statement.

”We will continue to monitor the situation and we will not have

any further comment at this time.”

According to police, a patrolman first spoke to Choo at 2:25

a.m. He told the officer he was lost and needed directions to Avon

Lake. Choo was allowed to continue driving, but was later pulled

over when he twice crossed the double-yellow lines and drifted into

a bike path. He told the officer his GPS had broken and he was

unable to get directions home.

Choo’s eyes were bloodshot and he smelled of ”an alcoholic

beverage,” police said, and he was ordered out of the SUV.

Choo was unable to complete a heel-to-toe walking test, losing

his balance and he failed two other sobriety tests, the report

said. He was taken to the police station and was given the

breathalyzer test. Choo was charged with operating a vehicle under

the influence, having an excessive blood-alcohol level and a

traffic violation.

He was released without bond and was driven home. While being

escorted outside by an officer, Choo reportedly smashed his camera

in the parking lot.

The case has been scheduled for Sheffield Lake Mayor’s Court at

5 p.m. Thursday, according to David Graves, the city law director.

Choo’s attorney may enter a not guilty plea on his behalf without

Choo present or may ask for a continuance, Graves said.

Acta said this is a bigger problem than just in baseball or

professional sports.

”It’s a society issue,” the skipper said. ”Everybody needs to

be responsible for their own actions.”

Arguably Cleveland’s best all-around player, Choo joins teammate

Austin Kearns, Seattle’s Adam Kennedy, Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera,

Oakland’s Coco Crisp and Atlanta’s Derek Lowe as players arrested

since Jan. 1 on suspicion of DUI.

One of the game’s most underrated players, Choo batted .300 last

season. He was the only AL player to hit .300 with at least 20

homers and 20 steals. He entered Tuesday’s game batting .250 with

four homers and 15 RBIs for the surprising Indians, who are 19-8

and lead the AL Central by 4 1/2 games.

Choo said he will do all he can to block out his mistake and

stay focused on his job.

”It’s OK. I’m good,” he said. ”This happened outside the

team. I’m going to be the same guy.”

AP Sports Writer Tom Withers and Associated Press writer Thomas

J. Sheeran in Cleveland contributed to this report.