|More work to come on steroids issue for Congress, Selig, Clemens|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 15 January 2008 22:54|
AP Sports Writers
WASHINGTON (AP) -George Mitchell's work on steroids in baseball is complete. Everyone else has plenty left to do, from Congress and the Attorney General to Bud Selig and Donald Fehr.
Lawmakers want the Justice Department to investigate whether Miguel Tejada, the 2002 AL MVP, lied to federal authorities.
Selig will determine whether Barry Bonds' San Francisco Giants should be punished for failing to report concerns about the home run king's personal trainer.
The commissioner and union leader Fehr will meet for further talks about Mitchell's recommendations for improving baseball's drug program. And Selig vowed to look into the exponential increase in requests by major leaguers to be allowed to use stimulants used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that addressed each of those issues Tuesday plans to hold a Feb. 13 hearing that promises to be far more riveting, featuring Roger Clemens and his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, who has said he injected the star pitcher with steroids and human growth hormone. Clemens has denied the allegations repeatedly and filed a defamation lawsuit.
``Our work here is definitely not done,'' said Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican who chaired the same panel's 2005 hearing on steroids.
``I think Mr. Clemens would want to come here and clear his name,'' Davis said after the hearing. ``I think he has an opportunity to come up here and raise his right hand under oath.''
Taking on baseball's steroids problem once again, Congress kept the finger-pointing and tough questioning to a minimum Tuesday. Maybe that's because the people under the most scrutiny this time - Tejada, Bonds, Clemens - were nowhere to be seen.
Selig and Fehr accepted responsibility for the sport's drug boom, and Mitchell defended his findings in the same wood-paneled House hearing room that hosted a far longer and far more contentious session three years ago.
before failing a drug test.
Tuesday's 4-hour, 15-minute hearing exposed what might be the latest drugs abused by the sport's stars: Ritalin and Adderall, medications better known for treating hyperactive kids. According to data provided to the committee by MLB and the union, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, there were 35 ``Therapeutic Use Exemptions'' for drugs in 2006, of which 28 were for ADD and ADHD medications. In 2007, the exemptions skyrocketed to 111, of which 103 were for ADD and ADHD.
``We don't want abuse. We don't want guys taking Adderall to supplant their need for amphetamines,'' two-time NL MVP Dale Murphy said in New York at a debate about performance-enhancing drugs.
One of Mitchell's recommendations was that baseball needs an independent agency to handle drug testing, and the data about ADD drugs supports that, according to Dr. Gary Wadler, chairman of the committee that determines the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned-substances list.
``This demands an explanation. There's something fundamentally wrong them going from 28 to 103,'' Wadler said. ``If we had this percentage increase in the general population, it would be on the evening news as a national epidemic. It's an outrageous number.''
Added Wadler: ``I'm the guy who made the issue three years ago about amphetamines, and baseball said they didn't have a problem with greenies.''
Baseball banned amphetamines in 2006, part of sweeping changes to the sport's drug policy after Congress intervened.
``I'm proud of the progress we've made. I never delude myself, because I know there's always more work to be done,'' Selig said afterward. ``But when you think of where we were three years ago to where we are ... I appreciated the response from them today.''
In his opening statement, he vowed to do more, including testing top prospects before the amateur draft. He also reiterated a willingness to test for human growth hormone ``when a valid, commercially available and practical test for HGH becomes reality, regardless of whether the test is based on blood or urine.''
Fehr, in turn, said the union has agreed to ``allow players to be suspended for HGH use based on evidence other than a positive test.''
He and Selig said they met in December to discuss the Mitchell Report's recommendations and plan to meet again.
``I hope we have all of this completed before spring training,'' Selig said.
Indiana Republican Mark Souder, meanwhile, suggested there be ``extra testing'' for players whose statistics show sudden improvement.
``I would think that would be a reason,'' Selig said, an answer the union likely would not agree with.
Committee chairman Henry Waxman brought up Bonds, asking the commissioner whether the Giants should have reported their concerns about Bonds' trainer, Greg Anderson, and the slugger's alleged steroid use to the commissioner's office.
``Of course,'' Selig responded.
Pressed by Waxman about whether Giants general manager Brian Sabean violated baseball rules by not doing so, Selig said: ``It's a matter that I have under review,'' perhaps hinting that Sabean or other team officials could face discipline.
Waxman began the hearing by announcing that he and Davis asked the Justice Department to look into Tejada's statements to committee staffers when questioned in connection to Palmeiro's perjury case. In 2005, Tejada and Palmeiro were teammates with the Baltimore Orioles. Tejada was traded to the Houston Astros last month.
``Tejada told the committee that he never used illegal performance-enhancing drugs and that he had no knowledge of other players using or even talking about steroids,'' Waxman said. ``Well, the Mitchell Report, however, directly contradicts key elements of Mr. Tejada's testimony.''
In the report, Adam Piatt, Tejada's former teammate with the Oakland Athletics, said he provided Tejada with steroids and HGH in 2003. Mitchell also included copies of checks allegedly written by Tejada to Piatt in March 2003 for $3,100 and $3,200.
``We will review and respond to the letter from Chairman Waxman and Rep. Davis,'' Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said.
Late in the day came news that Tejada's older brother, Freddy, was killed in a motorcycle accident in the Dominican Republic, according to the Aguilas Cibaenas, the shortstop's winter league team. Tejada, scheduled to play Tuesday night, wasn't at the ballpark and could not immediately be reached for comment.
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum and AP Sports Writer Rachel Cohen in New York contributed to this story.