Braves pitcher Derek Lowe apologized to his Braves teammates in a closed-door meeting Friday, the day after he was arrested on suspicion of DUI and piled another controversy on a clubhouse already reeling from accusations against pitching coach Roger McDowell.
“It’s been a rough couple of days for this organization and clearly I have a lot to do with that,” Lowe said. “…Any time you do anything, you’re putting the Braves in a bad spot and that’s what I did. You want to let them know that you are sorry for the situation.”
A trooper reported seeing Lowe racing another car down Peachtree Road about 10 p.m. Thursday night.
Georgia State Patrol spokesman Gordy Wright said Lowe was stopped about 10 p.m. at the intersection of Peachtree and Rumson Road and that the trooper “detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage.”
Lowe underwent a field sobriety test but refused a breathalyzer. He was taken to Atlanta city jail before bonding out Friday morning. Lowe, who was driving a 2011 Porsche Panamera, was also charged with reckless driving and making an improper lane change.
Lowe said he “explained the night” to his teammates and in a meeting with Braves general manager Frank Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez, but he did not elaborate on details publicly.
“It’s a legal issue right now,” said Lowe, who said this is his first ever DUI charge. “That’s all you can really say.”
Lowe also issued a statement to apologize.
“I would like to apologize to my family, teammates, fans and the Braves organization for the attention arising from this matter,” Lowe said. “However I am hopeful that this incident will not be a distraction to the Braves organization while we are focused on returning to the playoffs. This is a legal matter and I anticipate this case can promptly be resolved within the court system.”
Lowe is still on schedule to start Sunday against the Cardinals, something both he and the Braves said was never in question. He was met with compassion by his manager.
“It’s one of those things where as a parent, a brother, a son, we’ve all been in those situations,” Gonzalez said. “We don’t condone it. we don’t like it, but we cannot also alienate them. It happens in all walks of life and all professions. It’s not good. He’s going to have to go through some legal (proceedings). Hopefully some of our guys learned a lesson from it, and it doesn’t happen again.”
Lowe, 2-3 with a 3.21 ERA in six starts this season, has started on Opening Day for the Braves each of the past three years. He’s in the third year of a four-year $60 million contract.
The Braves won’t decide on any disciplinary action against Lowe until the legal process is complete, Wren said.
“We’re still in the legal proceedings,” Wren said. “Until the legal system runs its course, there’s still the presumption of innocence.”
Wren spoke to the Braves in the team meeting Friday afternoon and came away pleased with some of the “heart-felt” comments he heard from players.
“We’ve made a couple of mistakes,” Wren said. “But we want to go forward and uphold the reputation that we have had for a long time with the community.”
Staff writers Mike Morris and Christian Boone contributed to this report.