Bale apologizes for breaking hand
Royals left-hander unable to throw for four to six weeks
KANSAS CITY -- John Bale apologized on Monday for breaking his pitching hand, an injury he said will keep him from throwing for four to six weeks.
Bale, a left-hander, told the Royals he punched a hotel room door in frustration after throwing on Friday at Cleveland. X-rays on Saturday revealed a fracture on the outer part of his left hand.
"I'd just like to apologize, first of all, to the Royals organization, my teammates and the coaching staff for my actions. It was uncalled for, it was a moment of frustration and I wish I could do anything I could to take it back. But I can't," Bale told a group of reporters in the Royals' clubhouse.
"And I have to try to move as best I can and support my teammates and do what I can to keep my arm in shape, which I'm going to be able to do, I think."
Bale did not take questions, which left unanswered why he was frustrated after a throwing session that, by all accounts, indicated he was recovering nicely from left shoulder fatigue that put him on the disabled list on April 17.
"You don't get to this level without having some serious competitive spirit. It doesn't just happen," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "Sometimes it comes out in different ways. Sometimes guys keep it all bottled up inside. Johnny wasn't feeling as good as he hoped to at the end of the day after what I thought was a pretty good day."
Bale began the season in the rotation, but he was 0-3 with a 7.63 ERA in three starts. Two days after being routed in three-plus innings at Seattle, he was put on the disabled list. His replacement, Luke Hochevar, has done well, and Bale probably was headed to the bullpen.
"Luke's done well. He's got a couple of wins already in his three starts," Hillman said. "There was a possibility we were going to put Johnny back in the bullpen when he was ready."
However, instead of coming back after two or three more throwing sessions, the hand fracture will keep him out for a period that could extend to midseason.
"It's not in a bad spot, and my throwing fingers are OK and I'm looking at four to six weeks before I can start throwing," Bale said.
Once he begins throwing, of course, he'll need to get game-ready probably through a Minor League rehabilitation assignment.
"I feel like I let my teammates down," Bale said. "We're right in the thick of things right now, and I wish I could be out there on the field with them, fighting with them. I hope they continue to do that without any distractions."
For about 40 minutes on Monday, Bale met with Hillman, who described the pitcher as being extremely remorseful.
"He's killing himself right now," Hillman said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.