Pineda addresses media after suspension

September 11th, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- made sure to speak to his teammates in a meeting behind closed doors at Target Field when he first learned of his season-ending suspension on Saturday. He made sure to face the media for the first time on Tuesday, too.

"I feel obviously sad, which is why I’m here today in front of you guys, because I let myself down, my family, my teammates, especially where we are in the season," Pineda said. "And so [it's] obviously difficult, like you said, and hard to go through, but here we are."

Pineda was issued a 60-game suspension after testing positive for hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic listed as a banned substance in the Joint Drug Agreement between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association.

The right-hander explained that he first learned of the failed test around two months ago. He remained on the mound for the Twins until his suspension was announced on Saturday, and he was the Twins' most consistent starter for much of the season, with a 3.10 ERA in 15 starts since the beginning of June. The Twins were 11-4 in those starts.

In that time, Pineda's suspension was reduced to 60 games from the usual standard of 80 games for a first offense by an arbitration panel.

"[I was] sad because I knew the process I was going through, but at the same time, I had to go out and do my job, and all I did was try to help the team as much as I could," Pineda said.

Pineda said he plans to remain in Minneapolis to offer his support to the team as the Twins push toward their first division title since 2010. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said that Pineda made it a priority to remain with his teammates to the end, and he expects to see the starter working out at Target Field in the weight room and training room.

"We had a lot of sympathy for Big Mike," Mitch Garver said on Saturday. "We love that guy; he’s been huge for this team, as a player, as a mentor, as a person, you know?"

"We're not disappointed towards him," Jake Odorizzi added on Saturday. "We have a lot of compassion, a lot of sympathy for him because we know how great of a teammate he was and how much he was enjoyed."

Pineda, who will be a free agent this offseason, still doesn't know what his future holds. He plans to keep training and supporting his teammates and hopes that some team will give him a Major League opportunity next season, when he will still need to serve part of his suspension. It ultimately won't be up to them, but both Pineda and Baldelli were supportive of a possible reunion with the Twins.

"He was a great contributor to this team, and I think he’s a really good person as well," Baldelli said. "Yeah, I would have absolutely no issues seeing Mike back here next year."

"Obviously, I would like that," Pineda said. "It would be a very good outcome for me, but obviously I don’t have control over that, but we’ll let time decide. But yes, to answer your question, I would like that."