CLEVELAND — Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was arrested Monday on suspicion of drunken driving after a breathalyzer test showed he had a blood-alcohol level of .201 – more than double Ohio's legal limit of .08.
Choo, the sixth major league player to be cited on a drunken driving charge this year, was arrested by police in Sheffield Lake, Ohio, after he failed a field sobriety test. An officer following Choo's white Cadillac SUV said he was driving erratically before he was stopped.
Choo on Tuesday apologized to fans, the team, the club and his family "for the attention stemming from this matter."
"I am hopeful that this incident will not be a distraction to the Indians organization while we remain focused on continuing to play winning baseball," he said in a statement released by the Indians.
The 28-year-old South Korean traveled with the team and was expected to be in the starting lineup Tuesday night, when the Indians were to open a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics. Cleveland began the week with the best record in the majors.
Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said the club has spoken to Choo about the incident.
"The Indians organization takes these issues very seriously and we are disappointed in the matter," Antonetti said in a statement. "We will continue to monitor the situation and we will not have any further comment at this time."
According to police, a patrolman first spoke to Choo at 2:25 a.m. He told the officer he was lost and needed directions to Avon Lake. Choo was allowed to continue driving, but was later pulled over when he twice crossed the double-yellow lines and drifted into a bike path. He told the officer his GPS had broken and he was unable to get directions home.
Choo's eyes were bloodshot and he smelled of "an alcoholic beverage," police said, and he was ordered out of the SUV.
Choo was unable to complete a heel-to-toe walking test, losing his balance and he failed two other sobriety tests, the report said. He was taken to the police station and was given the breathalyzer test. Choo was charged with operating a vehicle under the influence, having an excessive blood-alcohol level and a traffic violation.
He was released without bond and was driven home. While being escorted outside by an officer, Choo reportedly smashed his camera in the parking lot.
The case has been scheduled for Sheffield Lake Mayor's Court at 5 p.m. Thursday, according to David Graves, the city law director. Choo's attorney may enter a not guilty plea on his behalf without Choo present or may ask for a continuance, Graves said.
Arguably Cleveland's best all-around player, Choo joins teammate Austin Kearns, Seattle's Adam Kennedy, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, Oakland's Coco Crisp and Atlanta's Derek Lowe as players arrested since Jan. 1 on suspicion of DUI.
One of the game's most underrated players, Choo batted .300 last season. He was the only AL player to hit .300 with at least 20 homers and 20 steals. He entered Tuesday's game batting .250 with four homers and 15 RBIs for the surprising Indians, who are 19-8 and lead the AL Central by 4 1/2 games.
Associated Press writer Thomas J. Sheeran in Cleveland contributed to this report.
(This version CORRECTS Adds statement from Choo. Corrects to 'alcoholic' instead of 'alcohol' in new 9th paragraph.)