Steroids and MLB: The recent news

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MLB may suspend players in drug case

10/12/2007 3:44 PM ET

The Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball might suspend players implicated by the Albany County district attorney's office for receiving banned substances and that could trigger a grievance from the players' union.

Although baseball's drug agreement specifies penalties for criminal conviction for use of a prohibited substance and for participation in the sale or distribution of a prohibited substance, it is silent about discipline for possession of a banned drug.

Heather Orth, spokeswoman for Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares, said she was not sure exactly what information had been turned over to Major League Baseball but said the DA's office has not given the league a list of players.

"There's an information sharing going on," she said.

No decisions have been made and no discipline would occur until after the postseason, a baseball official said Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcements have been made.

The official said that because discipline for possession was not specified, management could use the "just cause" standard to suspend a player for a first offense that occurred before 2005.

The New York Times reported Thursday that baseball received evidence from the Albany district attorney that a player received a substance from Signature Pharmacy in Florida.

Baseball did not have penalties for positive drug tests for players with major league contracts before 2004. A player initially testing positive was sent for counseling in 2004 and was given a 10-day suspension in 2005. The penalty was lengthened to 50 games starting in 2006.

Baseball also added human growth hormone to its list of banned substances in 2005.

The players' association is prepared to argue that any penalty for possession should be less than a penalty for a positive test, a person familiar with the union's thinking said, also on condition of anonymity.

Baltimore Orioles outfielder Jay Gibbons, Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Troy Glaus and New York Mets reliever Scott Schoeneweis have been implicated in receiving steroids. The three have not publicly discussed the allegations.

Gibbons received six shipments of Genotropin (a brand name for synthetic human growth hormone), two shipments of testosterone and two shipments of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) between October 2003 and July 2005 from Signature Pharmacy in Orlando, Fla., reported.

Troy Glaus received multiple shipments of nandrolone and testosterone from Signature between September 2003 and May 2004, reported. And Schoeneweis received six shipments of steroids in 2003 and 2004 from Signature, said.

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Gary Matthews, St. Louis outfielder Rick Ankiel and Texas Rangers infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. also have been accused of obtaining HGH.

The Times Union in Albany reported in February that Matthews was a customer of the steroids network, and reported that Matthews was sent Genotropin in August 2004 by Applied Pharmacy Services in Mobile, Ala. Matthews denied he used HGH.

Ankiel received eight shipments of HGH from January to December 2004, Saizen and Genotropin, from Signature, the New York Daily News reported. Ankiel said any drugs he received in 2004 were prescribed to help him recover from reconstructive elbow surgery.

Hairston Jr. got a prescription for HGH in May 2004 from a doctor jailed in the case and received the drug from Applied, reported. Hairston denied taking "steroids or anything like that." ... 262705.jsp

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Mitchell group meets with prosecutors

09/13/2007 7:45 PM ET

By Barry M. Bloom /

Members of the committee headed by Sen. George Mitchell met with representatives of the Albany, N.Y., prosecutor's office on Thursday as a two-year-old probe into the Internet sale of performance-enhancing drugs continues.

Mitchell committee members met with District Attorney P. David Soares' office only days after two Albany-based attorneys representing Major League Baseball met with the D.A.

A baseball official confirmed that the local lawyers speaking on behalf of MLB met to determine whether there was any way the sport could help the prosecutor, who has already woven players Rick Ankiel, Jay Gibbons, Troy Glaus and Gary Matthews Jr. into his case.

All four players are in the process of being called in front of representatives of the Commissioner's office to answer questions about their involvement with the procurement of human growth hormone or anabolic steroids during a period from 2003-05, the baseball official said.

Matthews and Ankiel have been tied by reports to the purchase of HGH, while Gibbons and Glaus reportedly procured anabolic steroids and/or testosterone via prescriptions written by doctors thru various clinics that were all filled by Signature Pharmacy, an Orlando-based firm that does business via the Internet.

But none of the athletes involved has been charged in the Albany probe. Despite the contact, matters remain status quo between the district attorney's office and MLB, the baseball official said.

"There are still rules of engagement and how it seems that we're going to work together that have to be discussed, and if there's anything they can offer us in helping us with our case," Soares told The Associated Press prior to Thursday's meeting.

Mitchell's committee was charged by Commissioner Bud Selig nearly 18 months ago with investigating MLB's so-called steroid era and to produce a report, which could be available by the end of the year.

Thus far, Mitchell has had belated cooperation from the owners and the clubs, who were chided by Mitchell and Selig for not fully participating in the investigation this past January at an owners' meeting in Phoenix. The players, on the advice of their union, have offered little cooperation to the committee, which has reportedly interviewed only one current player: Jason Giambi.

Earlier this season, Selig reportedly threatened to suspend Giambi if he didn't testify before the committee. The directive came after Giambi met separately with baseball officials and was asked about comments he made regarding his own steroid use in USA Today.

Giambi talked to Mitchell with the proviso that he didn't have to testify about drug use by other players. Selig ultimately declined to suspend Giambi.

The committee has no legal standing and thus can't compel players to testify or produce medical documents, which are protected by federal privacy laws.

Ankiel said last week after the story about his HGH involvement became public that he would be willing to cooperate with MLB in any fashion if asked. Glaus and Gibbons have been mum on the subject. Since the Matthews story broke in February, the Angels center fielder has told MLB through his attorney that he wasn't willing to cooperate because he was a target of the Albany investigation.

But the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday that Matthews is not a target of that investigation nor is any other athlete, citing an e-mail response from a member of District Attorney's office.

"No athletes are the target," the e-mail read. "We are unaware of any criminal investigation targeting Gary Matthews Jr."

Through cooperation between the Albany D.A. and the National Football League, that liaison led to the recent suspensions of New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison and Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, who both admitted procuring HGH from the Florida pharmacy. ... 206558.jsp

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Commissioner's office statement

11/10/2005 5:04 PM ET

Major League Baseball Executive Vice President Rob Manfred made the following statement regarding the report issued by the House Committee on Government Reform on it investigation of Rafael Palmeiro's testimony before the Committee on March 17, 2005:

"The Committee on Government Reform produced an impressive and well-documented report. While the confidentiality provisions of our agreement with the Major League Baseball Players Association preclude us from commenting on the substance of Mr. Palmeiro's positive test for a performance-enhancing substance, we acknowledge the two direct criticisms of our drug-testing program and have previously taken steps to correct them.

"First, Major League Baseball recognizes that the use of amphetamines is a serious problem in Major League Baseball and must be banned. In his April proposal to the Players Association Commissioner Selig called for the inclusion of amphetamines as a banned substance under our policy. We remain committed to that proposed change.

"Second, we acknowledge that our collection protocols must be constantly monitored. In fact, during this past season, we agreed with the Players Association on changes in our collection procedures designed to deal with the type of lapse identified by the Committee. We will continue to monitor the collection protocols to ensure that such lapses do not occur in the future.

"Major League Baseball appreciates the effort made by the House Committee on Government Reform to focus public attention on the serious problem of steroid abuse. This report reinforces the Commissioner's position that the issue relates to the game's integrity. We will continue to pursue changes that will eliminate the use of performance enhancing substances. While Major League Baseball prefers to deal with this issue through the collective bargaining process, it is prepared to endorse Congressional legislation should Congress determine that the bargaining process has failed to yield results." ... 267185.jsp

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MLB, MLBPA address media's steroid rumors

08/10/2005 5:34 PM ET

MLB Players Association

On behalf of the Health Policy Advisory Committee established pursuant to the Basic Agreement, Robert Manfred, Executive Vice President Major League Baseball, and Eugene Orza, Chief Operating Officer of the MLBPA, today issued the following statement:

"We are taking the unusual step of responding to media reports about certain 'rumors' concerning the operation of baseball's drug-testing program. All drug-testing results are reported directly to HPAC, and no one else in the sport has access to them. Positive test results are thereupon reported directly to the player involved. After the exhaustion of any available appeal, disciplines are announced publicly. Reports of large numbers of positive tests currently unreported are totally false. Reports of 'big name' players having the reporting of their test results delayed are totally false. All drug-testing results are processed in precisely the same manner, and without regard to the identity of any player or to the volume of positives at any given time. These media reports and rumors are totally, and completely inaccurate, and do not deserve further comment." ... 165214.jsp

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Selig wants to develop HGH test

Pettitte admits using hormone twice on DL

By Mark Gonzales

Tribune staff reporter

December 15, 2007, 8:49 PM CST

Two days after the release of the Mitchell report, Commissioner Bud Selig said he's ready to move forward �" to effective testing for human growth hormone in baseball.

"I'm concerned," Selig told WMVP-AM 1000 talk-show hosts Chet Coppock and Bruce Levine by telephone Saturday. "I'm frustrated by the lack of testing for [HGH]. We have a leading expert and the money.

"… I hope we can develop a test as soon as possible. People have a right to be concerned. I'm very concerned. Steroid use, according to all the doctors and trainers, has dropped off dramatically [with testing]."

New York Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte, who maintains he never has used steroids, admitted Saturday he had used HGH twice while on the disabled list in 2002 in an effort to heal faster. Baseball had yet to ban the substance.

Selig spent a majority of his 15-minute interview defending his accomplishments in regard to testing players for performance-enhancing drugs, dating back to collecting samples of minor-league players in 2001.

He was extremely supportive of the 409-page Mitchell report, which documented players' alleged use of performance-enhancing substances.

"I understand that people can be critical of it," Selig said. "But I never wanted anyone to say the commissioner or anyone in baseball was hiding something. I have nothing to hide."

Selig said MLB already had instituted a rule recommended in the Mitchell report that suggested players have no more than 24 hours' advance notice before being tested.

"We're going to tighten this program every conceivable way we can," Selig said. "Some of them we'll have to do at the [negotiating] table. Those, obviously, won't come as easily as those I can do unilaterally."

He added that he planned to meet with 10 major-league trainers Jan. 9 and praised their suggestions. ... -headlines

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