Eric Gagne has spent a chunk of his early days back in the Los Angeles Dodgers' spring training camp trying to explain his admitted "shame" at the use of human growth hormone (HGH). He needs to apologize on another front, too.
The onetime record-breaking closer, who now is trying to get back to the major league level, should ask for forgiveness from both the Can-Am League and the fans of Quebec. Of all people he wants to offend, it would seem to this corner, would be his native French-speaking Canadians. And what about the Quebec Capitales, who kept handing him the baseball every five days, even when he had trouble breaking a pane of glass at times and his earned run average was hovering around 10.00. The ERA got to 10.80 after his fourth start last June, and even though he had given up 20 earned runs in his last 15.1 innings he started once more six days later.
The offense to the Can-Am League and to the predominately French fans? It wasn't HGH this time. He said the Can-Am was like a "beer league", and it seems doubtful this was a misquote since it appeared in stories from the likes of ESPNLosAngeles.com and MLB.com. He must have been talking in similar fashion to The Los Angeles Times or it seems unlikely writer T. J. Simers would have talked about "the baseball pits in Canada" when he discussed Gagne's recent baseball opportunities.
I wonder how this will make his Capitales teammates feel.
"I'm so ashamed," Gagne told The Times, referring to HGH. "It wasn't smart. If I knew what I know now...I didn't need it. I regret it so much, just now maybe getting over the guilt. It was stupid."
So were the thoughtless remarks about Quebec, where the 17 starts and 102.2 innings (6-6, 4.65) gave the 34-year-old enough work despite his inconsistency to have a hope of making a comeback to add to the millions of dollars he already has collected from baseball.
Shame on you, Eric.
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A MIDDLE INFIELDER GETS INVITED TO CAMP
The late addition of Eric Gagne jumped the count of players who have toiled in an Independent league and now are invited to major league spring training camps to 41, with all of one middle infielder in the group. That is Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew, who played at Camden, NJ in the Atlantic League, but even then he was a touted prospect instead of someone who truly had to work his way through the professional baseball system.
Make it two shortstops, now. Ed Rogers, who came out of the Dominican Republic and signed with Baltimore when he was barely 19, is going to camp as a non-roster invitee with Arizona. Now 31, Rogers got a taste of Independent Baseball last summer when he hit .299 in 33 games (38-for-127) with Bridgeport, CT of the Atlantic League. Rogers has 30 games of major league play to his credit, spread over three seasons (2002, '05, '06) with the Orioles.