Former Yankee Scott Proctor opens up about alcoholic past

Scott Proctor has pitched with big name teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees but as he’s trying to make a comeback at age 36, he admits to still getting nervous, even in Spring Training.

“Once I’ve jogged from the bullpen and haven’t tripped, I’m fine,” Proctor said. “That’s the nervous part for me.”

In a piece that ran earlier today on SF Gate, Proctor opened up about his past struggles with alcohol and right now, he’s in camp with the defending champion San Francisco Giants, trying to work his way back to the Majors.

The popular narrative when Proctor was a member of the New York Yankees was that he was abused, or more that his pitching arm was abused by then-Manager Joe Torre. Proctor was a key member of the Yankees’ bullpen in 2006 and 2007. Proctor says that contrary to popular belief, Torre relying on him so much was not the reason for his downfall, alcohol was.

His binge drinking was so severe, he’d stop either when he ran out of booze or when he passed out. Proctor even said that teammate Mariano Rivera had tried for a long time to get him to admit that he had a drinking problem. Proctor finally decided to stop while he was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and he has been clean for four years.

Proctor spent the last year in South Korea pitching for the Doosan Bears.

“I was put in a role where I was able to make an impact being a closer,” he said. “I just got with some good guys over there, some good coaches, and thank the Lord I had a good year.”

Proctor, who had been tinkering with his sinker when he was with Atlanta, perfected it last year and it helped him save 35 games for the Bears.

I’m very happy for Scott Proctor. Stories of redemption are always great to see. I’m glad he was able to turn his life around, to get healthy and I hope that he pitches well enough to earn a job with the Giants.

Stacey is co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money and is co-host of the It's About The Yankees, Stupid podcast. When she's not blogging about baseball, she's blogging about the New York Knicks and when she's not doing either of those things, she's tweeting about General Hospital and her cats.

One thought on “Former Yankee Scott Proctor opens up about alcoholic past

  1. Guest

    But Proctor was *misused*, if not abused. He was very consistent: everything they were looking for in an 8th inning guy when pitching on a day's rest, and lousy on back-to-back days. That isn't being "inconsistent", as he was often accused of, it's just the opposite.

    For those who didn't look at such things, his K-rate and BAA would stay the same, but pitching without rest his BB and HR-allowed per IP would skyrocket. That's a pretty clear picture of a guy who lost his command when tired but no one (no one who mattered, anyway) seemed to notice because he didn't lose his velocity. And it didn't help that he was very pitch-inefficient and lived in 3-2 counts; someone once calculated (at a point when he was on-target for 100 IP one year) that he had thrown 50% more pitches than any other reliever in baseball. It should have surprised no one that he broke down.

    I'm sure the alcoholism was a problem, and I'm glad he's better. But the fact that he never blamed Torre doesn't mean Torre wasn't at fault. Torre was a good manager, but he was inflexible in his bullpen use; he couldn't accept a set-up man wasn't good for every 8th inning of every close lead. His lack of success with the non-Mariano members of his bullpens later in his Yankee career was blamed on the quality of the relievers, but Girardi has had a similar cast of nobodies and managed to get decent performance from them.

    Sorry; rant over. I just always felt sorry for Proctor.

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