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Saunders Denies Using Steroids

By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 21, 2005; Page D04

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 20 -- Perhaps the most troubling part of being accused of steroid use by Jose Canseco was that not so long ago, Baltimore Orioles pitcher Tony Saunders advised a group of kids he coached to stay away from performance-enhancing drugs.

"I sat down with them and told them why not to use steroids," Saunders said. "So now what do I look like to them?"

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Saunders defiantly denied Canseco's allegations that he had used steroids. The two were teammates for a short time in 1999 with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Saunders said he had a locker next to Canseco but that the two were not friends. In his recently published book, Canseco said he would take a lie detector test to support his allegations. Saunders was ready to accept that challenge.

"I've said any time, any place, anywhere," Saunders said. "I have no reason to run or hide from anything."

Saunders, who had been out of baseball since 2000, is attempting a comeback with the Orioles and said he chose to speak out in order to end speculation. "If I don't bring it to the forefront, then that's what people are going to believe," Saunders said.

Shortly after Canseco joined Tampa Bay, Saunders broke his left arm pitching in a game. He believes the severity of the injury was what caused Canseco to make the allegations.

"If I don't have that injury, I'm nowhere near that book," Saunders said. "He used my injury as a punch line in his book. Baseball was my livelihood. . . . It ain't right."

MRI for Julio

Reliever Jorge Julio is scheduled to take an MRI exam early this week, possibly Monday, to examine a sore right forearm that bothered him during winter league. Julio reported no pain while throwing on Sunday and the team believes the injury isn't serious. . . .

Former Baltimore pitcher Dennis Martinez has joined the team as a spring training instructor. It is the first time since 1986 Martinez has been with the Orioles for spring training. Former manager Earl Weaver will also be an instructor this spring.

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