Braves lose 9 international players in MLB sanctions

FILE-This Sept. 4, 2015, file photo shows Atlanta Braves assistant general manager and director of pro scouting John Coppolella talking on the phone in the dugout during batting practice before a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, in Washington. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has hit the Atlanta Braves with heavy sanctions, including the loss of nine players, for rules violations committed by the team in the international player market. Manfred on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, also placed former Braves general manager Coppolella on the permanently ineligible list. Former Braves Special Assistant Gordon Blakeley, the team's international scouting chief, is suspended from performing services for any team for one year. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Alex Brandon

ATLANTA (AP) — Former Atlanta Braves general manager John Coppolella has apologized for rules violations that led to him being banned from baseball for life, saying he's "disgraced and humbled" by his actions.

In his first statement since losing his job and receiving the harshest sanctions Major League Baseball can dole out, Coppolella said Tuesday he felt like he needed "to address what happened and speak to those affected."

Coppolella issued his apology in a five-paragraph statement sent out to media outlets. He described himself as "devastated and embarrassed" and seemed to acknowledge that he'll never be allowed back into baseball, saying his mistakes "cost me my dream job and my future in the game that I love."

Coppolella was fired by the Braves when Major League Baseball discovered major violations in the international free-agent market. The team forfeited the rights to 13 prospects and faces major restrictions on signing players outside the United States for the next several years.

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