DuRapau opens up about suspension

Altoona Curve

Montana DuRapau is the Curve’s career saves leader and a 32nd-round draft pick who has outperformed expectations throughout his pro career.

DuRapau, though, jeopardized all of his hard work with bad decisions that led to him getting suspended in January for 50 games for violating baseball’s drug policy.

The pitcher served his suspension and rejoined the Curve last week, and Wednesday night he talked about what he learned over the past few months and how much he missed being out of the game.

“It brings to light what I took for granted in terms of maybe selfish decisions off the field,” DuRapau said. “Just taking into account every single decision you make, every person you surround yourself with, it makes an impact on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I lost sight of that briefly, and I never will again.”

DuRapau tested positive for a drug of abuse, not a performance enhancer, leading to his 50-game suspension. He displayed great candor when asked what changes he’s made in his life following the ordeal.

“Just trying to stay in contact with family, baseball teammates,” he said. “Sometimes you’ve got to cut loose a few bad eggs that you hung out with growing up. That’s just part of growing up. I wish I had done it sooner.

“You make one decision where everything can be taken away from you, it’s like, I’m not going to let it be taken away because I was an idiot,” he added. “I’m going to let it be taken away because I just couldn’t go any further.”

DuRapau already has made it farther than most players drafted where he was in 2014 out of Bethune-Cookman. He first made it to the Curve in 2015 and has been a key part of the club ever since. He saved 22 games in 2016, and last year he had 14 saves to give him the franchise career record (now 37 after one this year).

DuRapau has a career ERA of 2.27, including 1.49 for the Curve a year ago, so he’s clearly been effective. He earned his first promotion to Triple-A last year and had a 3.24 ERA in 15 games for Indianapolis.

DuRapau had been in extended spring training since April 1, working out and throwing a lot of innings. He said the Pirates were very supportive of him throughout the whole process.

“I don’t think you ever lost trust in him,” Curve manager Michael Ryan said. “I think you just have to earn your keep again. Obviously he made a mistake, and the organization feels that he’s got to earn his way back to Triple-A and maybe to the big leagues, and that’s why he’s here. That was the message that they sent him.”

DuRapau was driven throughout extended spring training by one thing.

“It was easy to play knowing that I need to be better than I’ve ever been when I get back,” he said.

Why?

“Just on a personal level, it’s kind of like this redemption that I’ve got driving me,” he said. “I want to come back sharper, I want to come back and show everybody I didn’t waste this time. I want to prove myself again.”

COMMENTS