Padres move on from Cabrera's drug suspension
PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Chase Headley has accepted his apology. Jedd Gyorko is more concerned in rekindling their double-play chemistry. Yasmani Grandal has offered guidance.
As shortstop Everth Cabrera prepares to play his first spring game Thursday following a 50-game ban that ended last season, the San Diego Padres say they've beyond another suspension related to performance-enhancing drugs.
''At least for me, it's in the past,'' said Headley, San Diego's third baseman. ''I don't say I agree with it or I like it by any means. But having said that, I think guys make mistakes. And when you own up to it and pay the price for it, what more can you ask?''
The 27-year-old Cabrera was San Diego's lone All-Star in 2013. The switch-hitting leadoff man was hitting a career-best .283 with an NL-high 37 stolen bases when his season ended prematurely.
In a tearful news conference last August, Cabrera acknowledged through an interpreter taking a banned substance, but didn't identify it. That came after the Nicaragua native apologized to his teammates.
''He went right out in front of them in the clubhouse, players, coaches, and gave a heartfelt apology and said he made a grave mistake,'' manager Bud Black said. ''He knew that he let us down. He knew that he let this teammates down. I can't speak for everybody, but from what I've heard from some players, that was enough.''
Cabrera has mostly avoided the media this spring and wasn't in the clubhouse when reporters were allowed in Wednesday.
Players who were asked about Cabrera since spring training began have expressed their support. That includes catcher Yasmani Grandal, who served his own 50-game PED suspension at the beginning of last season.
''Everybody was supportive, just like we're going to be supportive of Cabby this year,'' Grandal said. ''He's the one guy I've been texting this offseason, just to get his mind right. He's in a good spot and I know how hard it is to come off a suspension and start playing.''
Cabrera hopes to regain his 2013 form at the plate, when he had a .355 on-base percentage. He's also working with Gyorko, San Diego's second baseman, on regaining their comfort level on defense.
''Working on our cohesiveness again, getting to where we know where each other is on the field at all times,'' Gyorko said. ''That's important to have that up the middle.''
The Padres, who play Seattle Thursday to open the exhibition schedule, are eager for the PED questions to end. They also hope Cabrera can help end their seven-year playoff drought.
''I was appreciative with the way he handled it. He took responsibility for it and he paid the price,'' Headley said. ''To me, that's enough. I welcome him back. He's a big part of our team and we need him playing well for us to be successful.''
NOTES: Reliever Alex Torres threw a bullpen session in his first workout Wednesday and was thrilled to have finally secured a visa to leave his native Venezuela. ''It's a really tough situation,'' Torres said of the unrest and government protests there. ''It's really sad for our country.''. ... Ps Eric Stults (Thursday), Andrew Cashner (Friday) and Ian Kennedy (Saturday) will start San Diego's opening spring games. ... INF Jonathan Galvez (groin) is expected to play in a game this week. ... Cashner won a bunting competition among Padres starting pitchers Wednesday morning.