McGwire apologizes again for steroid use

Mark McGwire's first day as the St. Louis Cardinals' batting coach began with a wrong turn into the media room instead of the spring training clubhouse. It ended with another apology for steroid use.

The 46-year-old McGwire seemed at ease Wednesday in his first extended media availability since admitting a month ago that he used steroids and human growth hormone during his remarkable home run power surge in the 1990s. Echoing remarks he made in January, he asked for forgiveness as he seeks to rehabilitate a tarnished image.

“It’s something I regret,” he said. “I can’t say ‘I’m sorry’ enough to everybody in baseball and across America, and whoever watches this great game. I think people understand how truly sorry I was for what I did.”

McGwire refused to back off his assertion, much criticized, that steroids allowed him to recover from injuries and stay on the field, but didn’t help him break Roger Maris’ single season home run record in 1998.

“Like I’ve said, people are going to have their opinions,” McGwire said. “Listen, it got me the opportunity to get out there and get more at-bats, and I got the chance to play.”

Short hops

Tim Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young Award winner from Renton, and the San Francisco Giants finalized their $23 million, two-year contract and avoided salary arbitration. … Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke missed his first scheduled bullpen session for the Kansas City Royals because he had to get two teeth pulled. … Left-hander Ron Villone is staying with the Washington Nationals, agreeing to a minor league contract. … An MRI on Atlanta Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens’ right shoulder has revealed inflammation but no structural problems. … Former major league pitcher Jim Bibby has died. He was 65.