Seven-year MLB veteran Scott Proctor says alcoholism contributed to his downfall after he became a workhorse reliever with the Yankees. (Nick Laham/Getty Images)
After a successful start to his career, veteran major-league reliever Scott Proctor suffered a precipitous decline beginning in 2008 that eventually led him to leave MLB to play professionally in Korea last year.
Now attempting to come back with the San Francisco Giants on a minor-league deal, Proctor came clean about his battle with alcoholism in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. Many blamed manager Joe Torre's overuse of Proctor -- he appeared in 83 games for the Yankees and Dodgers in both 2006 and 2007 -- for the righty's downfall.
“I think some things that happened and some poor choices on how I lived my life led to it more than anything,” he said.
Part of that was not eating right or sleeping enough, the basics of being a good athlete, but that was not the killer. He said he had a “serious drinking problem,” a binge drinker who stopped when he ran out of booze or passed out.
Proctor's ERA fell from 3.65 in 2007 to 6.05 in 2008, and he continued to struggle in brief stints with the Braves and Yankees.
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was among the people Proctor, now 36, credited with helping him turn his life around. A productive 2012 season with the Korea Baseball Organization's Doosan Bears earned him his shot at a job in the Giants' bullpen.
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was not shy about telling Proctor he needed to stop. In 2009, he said, he did stop while rehabbing after Tommy John surgery.
“Mariano had been on me a long time about just making wiser choices,” Proctor said. “Then I had a bullpen coach, Steve Foster, a really good Christian guy who tried to help me make a change in my life, and thank goodness I’m married to a great woman (Carrie) who has been supportive throughout my career, through the good and bad, and I owe a lot to her.”