Sunday, October 01, 2006

Two Former Yankees Named in Steroid Scandal

Former Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, plus Miguel Tejada, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons of the Orioles, were all named by Jason Grimsley as players who had used performance-enhancing drugs when the U.S. Attorney's office released an affidavit of an interview with the former Diamondbacks relief pitcher earlier this year, the Los Angeles Times reported in its Sunday editions.
The names of those players in the affidavit had previously been redacted, but the newspaper said that "a source with authorized access to an unredacted affidavit allowed The Times to see it, but retained it to read back what had been blacked out of the public copies."

Grimsley played with Pettitte and Clemens on the Yankees and with Tejada, Roberts and Gibbons when he was with the Orioles.

Grimsley's accusations are legally considered hearsay. The statements were not made under oath and he has not been charged in connection with any investigation. Since June, the Times reported, he has complained to friends that the affidavit misrepresented his statements.

All the players named in Sunday's Times' report declined interview requests for the Times story, either through their clubs or individually.

But several of the Orioles were quoted in Sunday's Baltimore Sun.

Club owner Peter G. Angelos, reached by the Sun, deferred comment to Orioles Executive Vice President Mike Flanagan.

At least 15 names had been blacked out of the affidavit, which was publicly released on June 6 when Grimsley declined to help authorities investigate other players who were expected of steroid use.

Grimsley was originally confronted by Internal Revenue Service investigators at his Scottsdale, Ariz., home on April 19. Grimsley had received a package containing two kits of human growth hormone (HGH) worth $1,600 each via the U.S. Postal Service. The IRS had been awaiting delivery of the shipment of the substance and Grimsley surrendered the kits when presented with a search warrant on that date.

HGH is illegal to use under MLB's current drug policy, but there is not an effective test -- either urine or blood -- in baseball, or any of pro sports leagues, to prove whether an athlete is using it.

Grimsley also said in the previously sealed affidavit that he had been taking steroids since undergoing shoulder surgery in 2000, and he was told he actually failed a drug test in 2003. Edward F Novak, one of the top criminal attorneys in Arizona, said at the time that Grimsley was a steroid user, but he also accused federal investigators of trying to coerce Grimsley into wearing a wire to collect evidence against Giants slugger Barry Bonds, who is also under investigation for perjury about his own alleged steroid use.

The interview occurred after agents arrived at Grimsley's house in April, and reportedly threatened to embarrass him in front of friends and family who were at the residence that day. Grimsley originally cooperated, but he then obtained Novak's services. At that point, he told the IRS that he no longer had any interest in helping with the matter.

Federal officials continued to press Grimsley. And according to an anonymous friend interviewed by the Times, investigators warned the pitcher that "if he didn't continue to cooperate, they would expose him as a rat."

On June 6, investigators searched his house and Grimsley went to Chase Field to play in that night's game against the Phillies. He failed to tell club officials about what had transpired and was actually warming up in the bullpen when the story broke on the Arizona Republic's Web site.

Grimsley almost immediately sought his release, a request that was granted by the ballclub, which declined to pay him the remainder of his $825,000 contract. On June 12, Grimsley was suspended for 50 games under the auspices of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Policy. Although he filed a grievance with the players association about the monetary issue, it was later settled when Grimsley allowed the Diamondbacks to donate the money to charity.

Grimsley hasn't played since his release by the Diamondbacks and has not served the suspension. No player on the 25-man roster of any Major League club this season has been suspended for failing a random drug test, down from 12 last season when the initial penalty was a 10-day suspension.

MLB has been testing for steroids since the 2003 season, but players didn't begin to get penalized until a year later.

Since the end of March, former Sen. George Mitchell has been conducting an investigation into MLB's steroid era, but there's no timetable regarding the release of a report. Mitchell's committee has no subpoena power and cannot compel players to come in for interviews or turn over medical records.

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BallHype: hype it up! Posted by Steve Kenul at 11:53 AM


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