Yovani Gallardo apologizes to Brewers fans after drunken driving arrest
Pitcher registers 0.22 blood-alcohol level after being stopped early Tuesday morning
Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo issued a public apology Tuesday afternoon after being arrested on allegations of drunken driving in the wee hours of the morning.
"I just want to apologize to the fans, my teammates, my family," Gallardo said in a brief media session on the field at Miller Park. "It's just a bad call. It's something I shouldn't have done. I regret it. But at this point there's nothing I can do about it now. It happened.
"I just want to apologize to the whole organization and all of the people in Milwaukee for my actions."
A breath analysis test conducted by a Milwaukee County deputy on Gallardo registered an alcohol content of 0.22, nearly three times the 0.08 at which a driver would be considered intoxicated. It was Gallardo's first offense, and he was ticketed per state law.
Sheriff's office spokeswoman Fran McLaughlin said another driver called 911 to report a suspected drunken driver. Gallardo's black Ford-150 pickup truck was pulled over at 2:10 a.m. on I-94 near S. 76th Street after the deputy spotted it driving very slowly and making erratic lane changes.
Gallardo told the deputy he had been drinking beer at Leff's Lucky Town, a nearby bar popular among Brewers fans. Gallardo was booked at the Milwaukee County Jail and his pickup truck was towed to an impound lot.
The maximum penalty for the ticket is $300, and there can be additional fines depending on a person's blood-alcohol level. Gallardo also was ticketed for deviation from lane, which has a maximum penalty of $178.80.
Gallardo, 27, spoke for about two minutes and didn't take questions.
"You obviously know why I'm here," Gallardo said. "I just want to start off and (say) obviously what happened last night, I made a bad decision. I made a mistake. I made a mistake, and I'm sure I lost a lot of respect from the fans.
"It's not very easy. It's one of those things where I truly am sorry. I'm going to make sure something like this never happens again. Whatever the circumstances or consequences, whatever I have to do so this won't happen again, I'm going to do it.
"At this point, I wish I could answer questions right now, but it's just one of those things where it's an ongoing process. I don't know how long it's going to take to get this cleared up, the whole situation that happened. The main thing I came out here is to apologize, especially to the people that look up to me and things like that.
"Obviously, it's something that I regret, and I'm going to make sure it never happens again."
Earlier in the day, the Brewers released a statement:
"We have been made aware of the situation with Yovani, and we take this matter very seriously. We have expressed our disappointment to him and know he understands that behavior of this nature is of great concern to everyone in the organization. Yovani has acknowledged the seriousness of this incident and is taking full accountability for his actions."
Under the Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement with the players' union, it is mandatory that a player charged with drunken driving or off-field violent contact be referred to a treatment board, which establishes and supervises and individualized treatment program.
When referred to the treatment board for an alcohol violation, a player is assessed by a physician to determine if it was a one-time event or if there is an ongoing problem with need for further treatment or counseling.
Teams are allowed to fine players for breaking team rules, such as curfew violations. The Brewers' team curfew is 2 a.m., which would subject Gallardo to a fine, which is likely.
Gallardo is scheduled to pitch Thursday afternoon against San Francisco at Miller Park and there was no indication that he would not make that start.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he and general manager Doug Melvin spoke with Gallardo to express their disappointment and hear what he had to say.
"He feels bad about what happened, and he knows he shouldn't have been in that position to ever have anything like that come up," said Roenicke.
"I think the distraction that's there today, I'm hoping by the time 'Yo' pitches, it'll be a little easier on him. And hey, I don't want this to be easy on him. He needs to know that this can never happen again, and I think he does. So you never want it to be too easy."
Roenicke was coaching for the Los Angeles Angels in 2009 when one of the team's pitchers, Nick Adenhart, was killed by a drunk driver. He mentioned that tragedy to Gallardo.
"And I think it's a lesson that is good, probably, to have in this way instead of maybe something worse happening," Roenicke said. "So I hope everybody else on the team realizes what can happen and that everyone is smarter because of it."
Much like the Brewers, who lost eight of their first 11 games, Gallardo has struggled this season. In three starts, he has gone 0-1 with a 6.61 earned run average. He last pitched Saturday in St. Louis and took the loss as the Cardinals whipped the Brewers, 8-0.
Gallardo was involved in another local incident on Aug. 27, 2010, when he and Brewers clubhouse attendant Alex Sanchez were robbed at gunpoint in the early-morning hours outside of a supermarket on Cesar Chavez Drive. Gallardo said he and Sanchez had stopped to get a late-night snack when they were robbed.
Gallardo was selected in the second round of the 2004 June draft and joined the Brewers' starting rotation on a permanent basis in 2009. He signed a five-year, $30.1 million contract extension early in the 2010 season that pays him $7.75 million this season.
Gallardo is believed to be the first active Brewers player cited for drunk driving since first baseman John Jaha in May 1998. On the disabled list at the time with a foot injury, Jaha was arrested in Elm Grove and later ordered to speak to school students about the dangers of driving while intoxicated.
Brewers players are cautioned every year during spring training about the dangers of drunken driven and are provided information on how to arrange for transportation if necessary.
Ashley Luthern of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.