CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Antonio Bastardo didn’t hide from it. He didn’t make excuses.
“I made a mistake,” the Phillies' reliever said after the first workout of the spring Thursday.
Bastardo ended last season serving a 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s rules against performance-enhancing drugs. Though he never tested positive, he accepted the suspension without appeal after his name surfaced in the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic scandal last summer. He was one of 13 players suspended by MLB in connection with the scandal.
Bastardo said he used an illegal performance-enhancing substance in spring training 2012.
“I met this guy one day in 2012,” he said. “I was thinking I needed some help. I did it just once and I ended up on the list. It was a bad situation.
“I’m mad at myself. It was a mistake I made and I paid the price. I never did it again, just that one spring training, never in the regular season or in 2013.”
Bastardo ended up forfeiting about $466,000 of his $1.4 million salary last season.
Bastardo was one of the majors’ top relievers in 2011, recording a 2.64 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP in 64 games. He said he took the performance enhancer the next spring. His ERA swelled to 4.33 in 65 games that season. He pitched in 43 games before his suspension last season and registered a 2.32 ERA in 48 games.
The left-hander spent his time on suspension at home in the Dominican Republic. He resumed pitching in the Dominican league this winter and allowed just three earned runs in 14 innings of work. He allowed eight hits, walked six and struck out 24. He said his fastball sat at 93 mph this winter.
If Bastardo were to run afoul of MLB’s PED laws again, he would receive a 100-game suspension.
He said it won’t happen.
The Phillies are counting on Bastardo to get outs in the seventh and eighth inning this season. Back in uniform, he said he is ready to do that.
“I have confidence in myself,” he said. “I just have to get people out.”