Toronto Blue Jays reliever Paul Quantrill admitted Friday that the toboggan accident in which he broke his right leg actually was a snowmobile accident in the woods just north of his home in Port Hope, Ontario.
The 30-year-old right-hander had surgery Tuesday to insert a stainless steel rod in his right leg and is expected to need at least three months to recover. He and his wife, Alyson, spoke to the media at the hospital where he had the surgery.
Blue Jays general manager Gord Ash confirmed snowmobiling is one of the excluded sports written into a standard player's contract. So is tobogganing.
"Whatever the implications may be, we just don't want to be dishonest about it," Quantrill said. "We don't feel good as people, so we said, `Let's get this out in the open and deal with it."'
Ontario Provincial Police said Friday that Quantrill never reported the accident to them.
Because police are required by law to investigate all motor vehicle accidents involving injury, the OPP said it will investigate the matter further.
Ash said it would be a few days before he knew what action, if any, the team would take.
"I've talked with our lawyers and the insurance people, but we probably won't hear back from them for a couple of days," Ash said.
Carney Lansford blew out his knee in a snowmobile accident in 1990 and missed the entire 1991 season. The Oakland Athletics had the option of withholding his salary because snowmobiling was prohibited by his contract, but the club opted to pay him because Lansford was a key part of the franchise's future.
"From a personal point of view, I think Paul is a great Blue Jay," Ash said. "He's a guy I have a personal relationship with. That's one side of it. "
"The othe side is business is business. We'll obviously take a long look at this. There will be no snap decisions."
Quantrill led Toronto pitchers with 82 appearances last season. He was 3-4 with seven saves and a 2.59 ERA.
He signed a two-year contract last season and was to make $1.4 million this season.
Quantrill said the only reason he originally said it was a tobogganing accident was because he was worried about the public's perception of a well-paid baseball player recklessly endangering his career on a snowmobile.
"Maybe I made the wrong decision here, but it was a scary time and in some ways embarrassing," Quantrill said. "We panicked. We didn't come up with a wild scheme. "
"It was simply, `I fell on the toboggan,' which I've done a million times. It just seemed more presentable," he said. "At this point, I would rather forfeit the entire contract than have to feel poorly about myself."
This marked the second time in the off-season the Blue Jays have had to deal with a story involving lies.
In November, Toronto manager Tim Johnson apologized for falsely claiming he served in the U.S. military in Vietnam and was a high school All-American basketball player.
While Quantrill is hopeful he can be back in three months, most of the medical opinions he has received suggest a longer layoff.
Dr. David Stephen, who performed the surgery, suggested he would be happy if the bone healed in three months. Quantrill then would require extensive rehabilitation.
While Stephen said it's "not impossible" for Quantrill to be back in three months, he said it's also possible the pitcher could miss the entire season.
Quantrill admitted he's got some tough decisions to make regarding his off-field activities.
"I've always said I'm going to live my life," he said. "Baseball means the world to me and I enjoy it, but I don't want to not go tobogganing or four-wheeling with my little boy who is already on a four-wheeler."
"I don't want to give up my whole life for baseball. I'm willing to make a lot of adjustments, but we'll have to wait and see. I would imagine that maybe I'm going to burn that snowmobile when I get home."
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