Mark McGwire arrives at spring training

Mark McGwire’s first day on the job ended with another apology for using steroids.

The St. Louis Cardinals’ new batting coach got time in the batting cage with hitters on Wednesday, sat in on a lengthy staff meeting and then spoke with reporters at the team’s spring training complex in Florida. He again said he was sorry, echoing remarks he made a few weeks ago when he admitted he used performance-enhancing drugs during his time as baseball’s home run king in the 1990s.

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He also said more than once that he is hopeful the issue will subside soon.

The 46-year-old McGwire said steroids gave him the opportunity to recover from injuries and get back on the field, resulting in more at-bats but not necessarily adding to his home run count. McGwire said the evolution of his swing helped him hit 70 homers in 1998, breaking Roger Maris’ 37-year-old record of 61 in a single season, and then 65 more in 1999.

McGwire said he felt he owed it to the Maris family to call them before his steroids admission became public, saying it was the right thing to do. He said Pat Maris, Roger Maris’ widow, was “upset and disappointed.”

McGwire said he had no regrets about his interviews in January and that he was speaking from the heart.

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