Mitchell reports rocks MLB

Published 5:41 pm Friday, December 14, 2007

By By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK — Roger Clemens turned out to be Exhibit A in the long-awaited Mitchell Report, an All-Star roster linked to steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs that put a question mark — if not an asterisk — next to some of baseball’s biggest moments.
Barry Bonds, already under indictment on charges of lying to a federal grand jury about steroids, Miguel Tejada and Andy Pettitte also showed up Thursday in the game’s most infamous lineup since the Black Sox scandal.
The report culminated a 20-month investigation by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, hired by commissioner Bud Selig to examine the Steroids Era.
Seven MVPs showed up and in all, 80-some players were fingered, enough to put an All-Star at every position.
No one was hit harder than Clemens, who denied the allegations through his lawyer. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner was singled out in nearly nine pages, 82 references by name. Much of the information on Clemens came from former New York Yankees major league strength and conditioning coach Brian McNamee.
While the records will surely stand, several stars could pay the price in Cooperstown, much the way Mark McGwire was kept out of the Hall of Fame this year merely because of steroids suspicion.
The report was unlikely to trigger a wave of discipline. While a few players, such as Bonds, are subjects of ongoing legal proceedings, most of the instances cited by Mitchell were before drug testing began in 2003.
Mitchell said punishment was inappropriate in all but the most egregious cases, and Selig said decisions on any action would come ‘‘swiftly’’ on a case-by-case basis.
Mitchell said the problems didn’t develop overnight and there was plenty of blame to go around.
Mitchell recommended that the drug-testing program be made independent, that a list of the substances players test positive for be listed periodically and that the timing of testing be more unpredictable.
Eric Gagne, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, Troy Glaus, Gary Matthews Jr., Paul Byrd, Jose Guillen, Brian Roberts, Paul Lo Duca and Rick Ankiel were among other current players named in the report — in fact, there’s an All-Star at every position. Some were linked to Human Growth Hormone, others to steroids.
Only Bonds was mentioned more than Clemens, 103 times, most of it recounting previous reports.
More than a dozen Yankees, past and present, were identified. Players were linked to doping in various ways — some were identified as users, some as buyers and some by media reports and other investigations.
McNamee also told investigators that ‘‘during the middle of the 2000 season, Clemens made it clear that he was ready to use steroids again. During the latter part of the regular season, McNamee injected Clemens in the buttocks four to six times with testosterone from a bottle labeled either Sustanon 250 or Deca-Durabolin.’’
Former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski also provided information as part of his plea agreement in a federal steroids case. Jose Canseco’s book ‘‘Juiced’’ also was cited.
Mitchell urged Selig to hold off on punishing players in the report ‘‘except in those cases where he determines that the conduct is so serious that discipline is necessary to maintain the integrity of the game.’’
Rafael Palmeiro, who tested positive for steroids, was among the former players named. So were Kevin Brown, Benito Santiago, Lenny Dykstra, Chuck Knoblauch, David Justice, Mo Vaughn and Todd Hundley.
Mike Stanton, Scott Schoeneweis, Ron Villone and Jerry Hairston Jr. were among the other current players identified.
The report took issue with assertions that steroids were not banned before the 2002 collective bargaining agreement.
They had been covered, it said, since the 1971 drug policy prohibited using any prescription medication without a valid prescription, and were expressly included in the drug policy in 1991.
Mitchell is a director of the Boston Red Sox, and some questioned whether that created a conflict, especially because none of their players were in the report.
Giambi, under threat of discipline from Selig, was the only current player known to have cooperated with the Mitchell investigation.
Union head Donald Fehr made ‘‘no apologies’’ for the way they represented players.
About two hours after the report was released, two congressmen at the forefront of Capitol Hill’s involvement in the steroids issue asked Mitchell, Selig and Fehr to testify at a House committee hearing next Tuesday.
California Democrat Henry Waxman and Virginia Republican Tom Davis — the leaders of the panel that held the March 17, 2005, hearing at which McGwire, Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa testified — want to know ‘‘whether the Mitchell report’s recommendations will be adopted and whether additional measures are needed,’’ they said.
Also, it was announced another Congressional subcommittee will hold a hearing on Jan. 23 relating to steroid use in professional sports, including the findings of the Mitchell report.
AP Sports Writers Rachel Cohen and Bill Konigsberg and AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich in Washington contributed to this report.