Sunday, February 24, 2008

Yo, Meathead!

Well, it’s spring-training time, and football is over. (Yeah, Giants!) As we turn our attention to the diamond from the gridiron, unfortunately, most baseball fans have the steroid scandal in the backs of their heads, even as players report to camp.

New York’s Newsday ran an interesting article yesterday—Jim Baumbach essentially listed responses to the Mitchell Report by players named therein. This is a little longer than my usual posting, but I found the article very interesting and informative, especially for the fan who cares. So here it is—enjoy!

More players respond to Mitchell Report

Jim Baumbach

Newsday, February 21, 2008

Now that most teams have officially kicked off spring training, many players who have remained in hiding since the release of the Mitchell Report have been asked to defend themselves.

Here’s an updated list of responses from players (active and retired) who were named in the report.

Chad Allen: Hasn’t played in the majors since 2005. Told the Dallas Morning News, “I think a lot of people were surprised to see my name. I made a mistake. I know I am going to pay for it. I did something wrong five years ago out of stupidity. If somebody holds that against me, it is their decision. But I certainly wasn’t going to lie.”

Mike Bell: Retired player, in an interview with the Visalia (Calif.) Times-Delta, said, “I have a chance to show people that I made a mistake. Things are tough at times, but you just got to persevere through it. I can’t take back what I did, but I can turn it into a positive.”

Gary Bennett: Backup catcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Reiterated last week that the Mitchell Report is “accurate” with regards to him, saying he bought HGH from Kirk Radomski in 2003 and knew at the time it was a mistake but was willing to go to such lengths to help the healing process of his injured right knee.

Kevin Brown: Retired pitcher told the Macon Telegraph right after the report’s release that he had been advised not to comment.

Alex Cabrera: Signed a $2.2-million deal with Japan’s Orix Buffaloes that includes a clause that requires that he pass a doping test. In a statement posted in the days after the Mitchell Report on the Web site of the Caracas Lions of the Venezuelan winter league, Cabrera said, “I couldn’t have used the substances that are identified. I never had possession of the alleged box that supposedly contained the pharmaceutical drugs.”

Mark Carreon: Former Mets outfielder told the Tucson Citizen in December, “Regarding the Mitchell Report, the following is true - towards the end of my 18-year career, regretfully on one occasion I experimented with a performance-enhancing substance ... One point that should be made. I received a certified letter requesting my response to these allegations merely 24 hours prior to the release (of the Mitchell Report), leaving little time to act.”

Howie Clark: A utility infielder trying to make the Minnesota Twins, he is best known for being the Blue Jays third baseman who was duped by Alex Rodriguez into thinking he was called off a pop fly last year in Toronto. He essentially admitted using performance-enhancing drugs to the Associated Press Wednesday, saying, “The season that I was having, I dealt with a lot of health issues, and I made a wrong decision,” Clark said, carefully wording his admission. “I’m very aware of what that meant. I do accept full responsibility for being involved.”

Roger Clemens: In the middle of a vigorous fight to clear his name of the allegations published in the Mitchell Report. Testified before Congress last week that he never took steroids or human growth hormone. It has yet to be decided if the justice department will investigate him on possible perjury, obstruction of justice and witness tampering charges. In all likelihood will never play again.

Jack Cust: Appearing at the Oakland A’s fanfest last month, Cust denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs. “I have nothing to hide,” he said.

Brendan Donnelly: He’s on a minor-league invite with the Cleveland Indians and has not been quoted in response to the report since showing up to camp. In a statement to ESPN after the report’s release, he denied using performance-enhancing drugs. “In 2004, I was having multiple physical problems and was concerned about not getting back on the field for even close to the level I had experienced. I made a phone call to Radomski. We discussed Anavar. Upon learning that Anavar was classified as a steroid, I realized that was not an option. That was the end of it. Yes, I called him. But I did not purchase or receive anything from him. I never took Deca or Anavar. I do want to fully support the testing program of Major League Baseball, and I support wider testing.”

Eric Gagne: Milwaukee Brewers reliever took the Jason Giambi approach, showing up at camp last week and apologizing for being a distraction but saying nothing more. “I just want to go forward,” he said. “I feel bad for my family, what they had to go through, and all my friends, especially my teammates here with Milwaukee. That’s a distraction that shouldn’t be taking place. I’m just here to help the Brewers get to the World Series, and that’s all I really care about.”

Jay Gibbons: Baltimore Orioles outfielder will serve a 15-day suspension for receiving HGH after it was banned by baseball. At the start of camp, he said, “Embarrassment is a good word. Disappointment. You know, it’s just one of those things where you look in the mirror, and I have no excuses.”

Jerry Hairston Jr.: A free agent still looking for work. In the wake of the Mitchell Report, he told the Beacon News ( Naperville, Ill.), “I have no reaction at all. I already defended myself during the season and I feel good about it. There’s nothing new to say. I stand by what I said six or eight months ago.” Last May he told Newsday he didn’t know Kirk Radomski. “I’ve never taken steroids in my life ... I can’t comment on somebody I don’t know anything about. I don’t know the guy. I never even met the guy. I don’t even know what he looks like.”

Matt Herges: Rockies reliever told the Associated Press he feels good now that his secret is out in the open. “I didn’t used to be this way, but I’m at the point where I know what I did was wrong 100 percent, no excuses, not justification, no rationalization. I screwed up and I crossed the line,” he said last week. “ ... If I’m not standing there naked in front of the world with my big secret, I’d still be holding onto it, hiding it. It would still be eating at me. It’s not fun by any stretch holding onto something like that, so secretive, so dirty. I’m grateful it’s out there. I’m freed a little bit, a lot actually.”

Glenallen Hill: Colorado Rockies coach released a statement at the start of spring training that said: “My brief use of performance-enhancing substances embarrassed me, both personally and professionally, and it was something that I did not want to discuss with anyone,” Hill said. “After much thought and reflection, I felt that I owed it to God, my family and the Rockies’ organization to be completely forthcoming and truthful. I would like to extend my deepest apologies to the Rockies’ organization, to my family and friends, and to baseball fans across the country.”

David Justice: Currently taking the year off from the YES Network to rebuild his home, which was hit by the wildfires in San Diego last summer. He insisted his inclusion in the Mitchell Report was unwarranted. “I don’t even know who Kirk Radomski is,” he told the YES Network after the report was released. “If he walked up to me right now and said, ‘Hello,’ I would not know who he was. I want to see the check that shows me paying something to a Kirk Radomski, because I don’t even know who he is. I didn’t pay for human growth hormone, ever.”

Paul LoDuca: Washington Nationals catcher did not specifically admit using performance-enhancing drugs, but apologized for his mistake. “In regards to Senator Mitchell’s report, I apologize to my family, all my fans and to the entire baseball community for mistakes in judgment I made in the past and for the distractions that resulted. I am fully committed to being the best player and person I can be, on and off the field, for the Washington Nationals and the entire baseball community.”

Chuck Knoblauch: Retired and living in the Houston area. In his deposition before congressional investigators, Knoblauch confirmed he used human growth hormone, as stated in the Mitchell Report. He said he did so in part to help cure his throwing yips.

Nook Logan: Recently signed a minor-league contract with the Dodgers. “I’ve never taken steroids a day in my life,” Logan told the Natchez (Miss.) Democrat shortly after the report was released.

Kent Mercker: Attempting a comeback with the Cincinnati Reds after Tommy John surgery in 2006. Mercker, who was accused of using human growth hormone in 2002, said what’s in the report is accurate. He admitted last week to using HGH in 2002. “It didn’t help me throw harder or anything like that,” he said.

Dan Naulty: Retired major-leaguer who admits - and regrets – using performance-enhancing drugs. “I’m living proof you can run faster and throw faster and play major league baseball when you’re not supposed to,” he told ESPN. “I took it upon myself to inject this, that and everything else. I was scared to death my entire career. I was cheating. I knew I was cheating. I couldn’t compete without the drugs.”

Jim Parque: Retired pitcher admitted to that he wrote two checks worth $4,800 to Radomski to purchase “a bunch of supplements, some creatine, vitamins, some stuff to increase my red-blood-cell count and some herbs from South America that were supposed to help with my injuries.” Denied buying and using steroids. “Either someone isn’t telling the truth, or steroids really don’t work because I was throwing 80, 81 mph before the report said I took them, and I was throwing 80, 81 mph after I allegedly took them.”

Andy Pettitte: Under contract with the Yankees. Held a news conference Monday in which he apologized for taking human growth hormone in 2002, as stated in the Mitchell Report, and again in 2004 from his father, as he testified under oath. Blamed only himself for taking HGH, describing it as a “stupid” decision. Also testified in his deposition and affidavit to congressional investigators that Clemens told him in 1999 or 2000 that he used HGH.

Adam Piatt: Former A’s player told the News-Press of Fort Myers, Fla., that everything in the Mitchell Report with regards to him was accurate. Piatt said he spoke to Mitchell because, “I was going to own up to what I did. I felt like there’s too many people denying.”

Brian Roberts: Second baseman for Orioles admitted trying steroids. In a statement to the Baltimore Sun, he said, “In 2003, when I took one shot of steroids, I immediately realized that this was not what I stood for or anything that I wanted to continue doing. I never used steroids, human growth hormone or any other performance-enhancing drugs prior to or since that single incident ... I am very sorry and I deeply regret ever making that terrible decision. My only hope and prayer is that the Orioles, my family, friends and fans that have supported me so faithfully will forgive me.”

F.P. Santangelo: Retired player who is currently hosting a radio show in Sacramento admitted using human growth hormone but disputed report’s allegations he took anabolic steroids and testosterone. “I don’t know where that came from,” he told the Sacramento Bee. “I never did any of that. But I did growth hormones. I was at a point of my career when I took it - twice - because I panicked. I didn’t want my career to end. I can’t justify it and say it was right, because cheating is wrong, but I admit, I did it.”

David Segui: Retired major-leaguer who is currently living in the Kansas City area. Has admitted to using steroids and refuses to apologize for it, saying he knew exactly what he was doing when he was doing it. Still takes HGH on a prescription.

Mike Stanton: A reliever with the Cincinnati Reds who initially denied his involvement with performance-enhancing drugs but now refuses to comment about it. Also involved with the Clemens-McNamee case; McNamee testified under oath that Stanton saw blood on Clemens pants after an injection in the Yankee clubhouse and commented about it. When contacted by Newsday and asked about that, Stanton said, “I’ve been advised to no comment.”

Miguel Tejada: Houston Astros shortstop refused to take questions about the Mitchell Report or the FBI’s investigation into his connection to steroids. “I can’t really talk about that situation,” he said. “Right now, I just want to talk about baseball, because that’s really my focus.”

Ron Villone: A non-roster invite in the St. Louis Cardinals’ camp trying to win a spot in the bullpen. Two days ago he said the Mitchell Report included “inaccuracies,” but he refused to elaborate, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Fernando Vina: Currently a baseball analyst on ESPN, he told the network, “In 2003, I did use HGH. Was it right? No. Obviously, it was wrong. I’m embarrassed by it. I never used steroids.”

Gregg Zaun: The Toronto Blue Jays catcher has what is easily the most entertaining defense, telling the National Post in an e-mail he gave Jason Grimsley a $500 check to pay off a bet but left the name blank. He thinks Grimsley wrote Kirk Radomski into the name portion and simply used that check to buy performance-enhancing drugs.

Notable players who have not responded to accusations in the report:
Manny Alexander
David Bell
Larry Bigbie
Jason Christiansen
Matt Franco
Jason Grimsley
Todd Hundley
Hal Morris
Denny Neagle
Todd Pratt
Mo Vaughn
Rondell White

Anthony Rieber contributed to this report.

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