WASHINGTON (AP) -The Washington Nationals broke their silence Monday on the Mitchell Report - without offering many details.
``I know you want me to say something about Paul Lo Duca or Nook Logan,'' team president Stan Kasten said at a news conference to discuss the report that detailed allegations of performance-enhancing drug use in baseball. ``I really can't. There are legal issues, there are baseball issues involved.''
The Nationals signed Lo Duca to a $5 million, one-year contract last week, two days before the report was released. In the report, Lo Duca is said to have received shipments of human growth hormone while playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers several years ago.
Lo Duca is the only current Nationals player named in the report. One of several former Nationals mentioned is Logan, who played for the team this year but last week - on the eve of the release of the report - was not offered a new contract.
Kasten said he was interviewed by Mitchell, but he and team officials had no advance warning of the names included or the contents of the report.
``I was surprised to see the inclusion of some names in the report,'' Kasten said. ``I was surprised at the omission of other names. ... I'm going to have to say most people in this room were surprised by the inclusion of Nook Logan's name, for instance.''
Kasten implied that he has spoken to Lo Duca about the report. He also pointed out that baseball's drug program is exclusively administered by the commissioner and thus declined to speculate on any possible penalties.
Kasten said he read the entire report, and endorsed all of Mitchell's recommendations. He said information in the report would not affect the team's plans for next season.
``I think we all had a sense of this, but it was chilling to read it in black and white,'' he said.
Kasten said he would like a stronger testing program for performance-enhancing drugs, saying the health concerns should trump the privacy concerns voiced by the players' union. He also expressed concern over the lack of a test for human growth hormone.
``We should do all we can to eradicate it from our game,'' he said.
The Mitchell Report cited management as well as players for allowing a culture of performance-enhancing drugs to flourish. Kasten was asked if both sides turned a ``blind eye'' to the problem.
``I think that's a little unfair, at least as to it relates to management,'' Kasten said. ``I do know there was one side trying to get to the bottom of this. There was at least one side. Maybe not more than one side, but there was at least one side.''
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