MILWAUKEE -- Opening Day starter Yovani Gallardo was arrested early Tuesday and cited for drunken driving after another motorist noticed him driving erratically past Miller Park.
Fran McLaughlin, Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department spokesperson, said that Gallardo registered a .22 blood alcohol level, nearly three times Wisconsin's legal limit of .08. A first-time offense for operating while intoxicated is not a criminal offense in Wisconsin, so Gallardo was arrested, ticketed and later released.
In a statement, the Brewers said the club's "disappointment" had been made clear to Gallardo. A few hours later, Gallardo made his own statement to the media but did not take any questions.
"Obviously, last night I made a bad decision," Gallardo said. "You know, I made a mistake. I'm sure I've lost a lot of respect from a lot of fans, but I just want to apologize. I apologize to the fans, to my teammates, my family. You know, like I said, it's just a bad call. It's something I shouldn't have done. I regret it. But at this point, you know, there's nothing I can do about it now. You know, it happened.
"Like I said, I just want to apologize to the whole organization and all the people in Milwaukee for my actions. It's not very easy. It's one of those things -- I truly am sorry. I'm going to make sure something like this never happens again. Whatever circumstances, consequences, whatever I have to do so this won't happen again, I'm going to do it."
Gallardo was unable to answer questions about what he called an "ongoing process," but it was unclear what he meant. From a legal standpoint, the matter would be closed as soon as he pays his fines.
Gallardo may have been referring to protocols established by Major League Baseball's Basic Agreement, which mandates a player be referred to a "treatment board" in the event he is arrested or charged by law enforcement with driving while intoxicated.
According to Attachment 27 to the CBA, a letter from MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred to Michael Weiner, executive director of the Players Association, "The Treatment Board, as defined under the Joint Drug Program, will be responsible for creating and supervising individualized treatment programs for Players with an alcohol use problem or Players who have engaged in off-field violent conduct."
Such players are evaluated by mutually agreed-upon experts, who determine whether the players could benefit from a treatment program.
The Brewers released this 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."
There is nothing in the CBA that prohibits a team from suspending or otherwise disciplining a player charged with DUI, but teams typically do not issue discipline after a first-time offense if the player submits to evaluation by the treatment board. It was not known whether the Brewers had taken any disciplinary action against Gallardo because, as a matter of club policy, fines or other sanctions are not made public.
The Brewers instruct their players during Spring Training about the dangers of driving while impaired, and they offer alternative transportation for such instances.
Gallardo's next scheduled start is on Thursday afternoon, against Matt Cain and the Giants at Miller Park. In three starts so far, including an Opening Day no-decision against the Rockies, Gallardo is 0-1 with a 6.61 ERA.
"As of right now, he's starting Thursday," manager Ron Roenicke said.
Could anything change that?
"In my conversation with [GM] Doug [Melvin], we didn't talk about that," Roenicke said.
As for his own reaction to Tuesday's news, Roenicke said, "Certainly, disappointment. I realize these things happen, but as much as I talk to the guys -- most of the stuff is on the field, but also some of the stuff is off the field -- you still feel that maybe you can do a little bit more to make sure guys are doing things the right way."
According to McLaughlin, a driver phoned 911 at about 2:10 a.m. CT on Tuesday to report Gallardo's black Ford F-150 varying between 40 mph and 70 mph and deviating between lanes as it headed southbound on Highway 41 and merged onto westbound Interstate 94 at Miller Park. A deputy moved into position behind Gallardo, who pulled to the side of the highway near 84th Street before the deputy had activated his lights or siren.
Gallardo told the officer he had been drinking beer at Leff's Lucky Town, a popular bar for Brewers fans in Wauwatosa. He performed poorly on a field sobriety test, McLaughlin said, and was administered a preliminary breath test on the scene, which recorded a .22. Gallardo was arrested at 2:30 a.m. and taken to a Sheriff's Department substation in the area for a more accurate test. Again, he registered .22.
As a matter of practice meant to deter repeat offenders, McLaughlin said that the department books all alleged drunk drivers. Gallardo was booked into the downtown jail under his legal name -- Yovani Gallardo-Zaragoza -- at 4:25 a.m. and released at 6:25 a.m. His truck had been towed, so he was picked up and driven home.
Gallardo was issued a $300 ticket for operating while intoxicated-first offense, with an additional $300 ticket because of the level of intoxication and a $178.80 ticket for lane deviation. In addition, he will have to have an interlock ignition device installed on his vehicle.
"The main thing, like I said, I came out here to apologize, especially to the people that look up to me and things like that," Gallardo said. "Obviously, it's something that I regret, and like I said, I'll make sure it never happens again."