A repentant and reserved Alex Reyes addressed the media Sunday at the Cardinals Winter Warm-Up on the topic of his 50-game suspension. The prospect tested positive a second time for marijuana, and will now lose much of the momentum he was carrying into spring training.
“I wanted to start off today by saying I apologize to the organization, my friends [and] my family for testing positive for marijuana,” the 21-year-old said. “I’m honestly disappointed in myself. It was a huge mistake I’m learning about. I’m looking forward to next season and just putting this behind me and turn the chapter on this.”
The suspension came down on November 9th and ended Reyes’ time in the Arizona Fall League. He threw just 15 innings in four starts before the 50 game setback. The right-hander spent the remainder of his offseason in the Dominican Republic working with a personal trainer and said he will head to Miami to continue his training before spring training starts. However, Reyes will not participate in big league camp.
“I’ll be facing competition down in spring training. I’ll be able to work on my stuff and work on my command as usual,” he said.
Even with his time cut short, Reyes said he learned some valuable lessons from his performance in the fall league. He struck out 14 while allowing 10 walks in the 66 batters he faced.
“The hitters down there, they’re very talented. They’re great hitters and they have good approaches,” Reyes explained. “Learning about myself, you have to learn to command the ball, command the fastball and being able to keep it down in the zone is key.”
Cutting down on the free passes is one of Reyes’ goals for 2016. He’s also trying to master his secondary pitches to compliment a heater that averages in the mid-90s but can touch triple digits if needed.
“I feel like my changeup has been the separation from the hitters,” Reyes said. “My changeup has been the pitch to help throughout this last year. My curveball has been pretty good and just being able to command it is what we’re working on.”
To accomplish his 2016 goals Reyes is ready to put the embarrassment of his suspension behind him. Asked whether he had a sense of how close he was to reaching the majors before the ruling came down, he offered a safe response, careful to make clear his focus is the game and not the goal.
“I’m just trying to be out there on the mound,” said Reyes. “To be able to pitch in the big leagues is something I’m looking forward to.”