MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader received a warm ovation from fans in his first appearance on the mound since his years-old racist and homophobic tweets surfaced during the All-Star Game.
The left-hander jogged in from the bullpen after the Brewers scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 4-2 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers. He took a few warmup tosses before being introduced by the public address announcer.
Most of the more than 36,000 fans attending in attendance were applauding after he was introduced, with many fans standing at Miller Park.
Hader struck out pinch-hitter Logan Forsythe for the first out in the seventh. He allowed a two-out double to Matt Kemp before getting out of the inning when cleanup hitter Max Muncy lined out to first.
In Friday's Associated Press story, it was reported that Hader apologized to his team before their game against the Dodgers, the first action for the Brewers since the All-Star break.
"I just want them to know that I'm sorry for what I did back in the day and the mistakes that I made," Hader said, "and that they are a family to me and that they (the tweets) aren't me and what I meant."
Outfielder Brett Phillips said Hader offered a sincere apology. Manager Craig Counsell described Hader as emotional and remorseful.
Hader expressed regrets again during a news conference about 90 minutes before the game. Teammates filed into the Miller Park media auditorium as Hader spoke, with fellow All-Stars Jesus Aguilar and Lorenzo Cain among those who stood directly behind Hader.
"It's amazing. It tells me that they have my back and that we are a true family," Hader said about the show of solidarity.
The 24-year-old Hader also apologized and took responsibility for the tweets after the All-Star Game, saying they did not reflect his values or the person he is now.
The tweets included uses of a slur used to disparage African-Americans and one that simply said "KKK."
Said Hader: “They were never my beliefs. I was young. I was saying stuff out of just ignorance and that's just not what I meant.”
Several of Hader's tweets from 2011 and 2012 were unearthed Tuesday while he was pitching in the All-Star Game. Hader learned of the situation when he left the game.
MLB announced Wednesday that the commissioner's office would require Hader to participate in diversity and inclusion initiatives in addition to sensitivity training.
A day filled with acts of contrition by Hader also included a meeting with Billy Bean, MLB’s vice president for social responsibility and inclusion. He described Hader as "punishing himself more than probably anyone else could."