Almonte discusses his return
Indians outfielder Abraham Almonte was reinstated from the MLB’s restricted list prior to Sunday’s game against the Blue Jays, following an 81-game suspension for testing positive for Boldenone, a banned anabolic steroid. Almonte addressed his suspension and return with reporters in Toronto.
Q: How happy are you to have this day finally here?
Almonte: I’m excited. You guys know what happened. I’ve been waiting for this, this day, this time. Finally, I’m here to support my team and try to help my team to keep doing what they’ve been doing. I feel excited.
Q: Did you ever feel like Indians might cut you loose over this?
Almonte: No, because when that happened, we had a conversation and they know that whatever happened, it was not something I was looking for to be a better player. Like you guys know, it was a mistake. And they always told me that they’re going to be there for me, and they expected me to be ready after those 80 games. I believed that and I kept working, and tried to get myself in a better position to help my team whenever they needed me.
Q: Did you surprise yourself with your performance at Triple-A given the layoff?
Almonte: Yeah, I saw good results, but all that time that I was in Arizona, I’ve been working hard and in a smart way. I was doing a lot of conditioning again, trying to make sure that everything I do I feel like it’s a game, swinging, not like BP practice. So, I kept my mind like a game, and I think that helped me a lot. When I started seeing pitchers, I felt like I’ve been doing this for months.
Q: Did you play extended spring training?
Almonte: In extended, I played a couple games. And then I played a few games in Columbus.
Q: How hard was it to be away from the team during their success in the first half?
Almonte: It’s hard, but at the same time I feel excited, because I’m seeing my team doing good. I wanted to be there and I know the time was going to go and sooner or later I was going to be with the team. For this first time, I feel really excited to see the players having fun and winning the game and doing what we’re prepared to do and what we have to do every day.
Q: Were you disappointed in yourself when you tested positive?
Almonte: It was hard, but something that helped me was that I knew that I was not looking for anything like that. I know, whatever happened, whatever was there, that was not something that I did or said, ‘I wanted to do this and now look what happened.’ It’s something that happened, and it is hard, because you’re going to lose a lot of time. But, after it happened, I just said the time is going to go quick. I’ve just got to invest my time in something good, because in three months, they’re going to need me or they’re going to want me to play wherever, in the big leagues or in Triple-A, and I had to be ready.
Q: Did you or your agent try to go back and find how the PEDs got into your system?
Almonte: We tried to figure it out in Spring Training, the way that we think it might’ve happened. In the D.R., it’s going to be too hard to find out. It’s something that is going on over there with all that stuff and it’s hard to find out. I might say, ‘It was this,’ but then I look at it and maybe not. And I might say, ‘This is not it,’ and maybe it was. We kind of have an idea of maybe how it happened, because we found out what that’s used for and what kind of people use that and where they put it. We may have an idea where it came from, but we’re not sure.
Q: Do you get supplements from a trainer or from someone else in the D.R.?
Almonte: I’m not really that guy that uses supplements, because of my body. It’s a body that is one of those people that if I don’t take care of it, I get fat really easily, I get big. I have to stay running and stay lean. Not too much protein. At this point, I would like to know for sure what it was. I kind of have an idea, but I want to kind of stay away from what I think might’ve caused that. I hope to God it doesn’t happen again.
Q: Did you inject yourself?
Almonte: No, that’s what really got me when they told me it was something that has to be injected. The first time I heard about that thing was when they told me that I tested positive and I started searching to see what it is. If I ever put something in my body, something you inject, it’s not even close to something that is something like that.