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Committee Seeks Steroid 'Discussion'

House Panel Invites Players to Testify

By Thomas Heath
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 4, 2005; Page D12

The House Government Reform Committee announced yesterday that it had invited several baseball players, including former slugger Jose Canseco, to a March 17 hearing on alleged steroid abuse in Major League Baseball.

"There's a cloud over baseball, and perhaps a public discussion of the issues, with witnesses testifying under oath, can provide a glimpse of sunlight," Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), the committee chairman, said in a statement released yesterday.

Ex-major leaguer Jose Canseco claims in his book that he used steroids, injected teammate Mark McGwire and introduced others to the drug. (Mary Altaffer -- AP)

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In addition to Canseco -- a former Oakland Athletics outfielder who, in a recent book, claims he used steroids and injected former teammate Mark McGwire as well -- other players invited include current Baltimore Orioles Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro, Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, Yankees slugger Jason Giambi and White Sox designated hitter Frank Thomas.

Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig, baseball vice president of operations Sandy Alderson, and players' association executive director Don Fehr have also been invited to testify.

Orioles spokesman Bill Stetka said yesterday that he hadn't talked with either Sosa or Palmeiro about the invitation to appear. Neither was with the team yesterday during its spring training opener against the Florida Marlins in Jupiter, Fla.

At Boston's spring training camp in Fort Myers, Fla., Schilling told the Associated Press that the call to testify was news to him and that he will consult with the union.

"We'll see what happens," he said. "I have no idea what it's about."

Canseco alleged in his book that he introduced Palmeiro to steroids. Palmeiro, McGwire and others have denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported in December that Giambi told a federal grand jury in 2003 that he had used steroids. MLB and the players' association in January agreed to a tougher steroid-testing program in the wake of allegations that Giambi and San Francisco's Barry Bonds were steroid users. Bonds has also denied knowingly taking the drugs.

Yesterday was the first day of testing under baseball's new steroid policy.

Staff writer Jorge Arangure Jr. contributed to this report from Jupiter, Fla.

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