Orioles Dismiss Palmeiro; Tejada Defends Himself
Saturday, September 24, 2005
BALTIMORE, Sept. 23 -- With Baltimore announcing on Friday that Rafael Palmeiro will likely never wear an Orioles uniform again, Miguel Tejada, the superstar who is the face of the organization, again tried to clear himself from any link to steroids that threaten to tarnish his name because of his connection to the first baseman.
Palmeiro's dismissal from the team was made official on Friday by Orioles Executive Vice President Jim Beattie. Palmeiro will not return to the Orioles again this season. The dismissal had appeared likely on Thursday night after it was learned that the first baseman had testified to baseball's steroid testing governing body and to the House Government Reform Committee's investigation of perjury charges that Tejada had given him a substance that could have caused a positive steroid test result.
"It's a big distraction and he hasn't even been here," Beattie said. "We decided for the organization, for the players who are here that he not dress."
Though not closing out the possibility that Palmeiro would play again in Baltimore, Beattie hinted it was likely that the first baseman has played his last game as an Oriole.
"I can't go there right now but I think it would be tough for him to come back in an Oriole uniform," Beattie said. "But that would be something to at least discuss with ownership and see what their thoughts are. For us to make that decision now, I don't think we need to."
In his testimony, Palmeiro did not say Tejada had supplied him with steroids but said that perhaps the B-12 vitamin the shortstop supplied had caused a positive result. Tests by MLB's Health Policy Advisory Committee, the governing body, of a sample of the vitamin proved otherwise. In his session with reporters, Tejada detailed how he gave Palmeiro the vitamin.
"He just told me that he felt pain and was tired," Tejada said. "He was telling me he wasn't hitting very well. I told him that in the Dominican when we're feeling like that we take B-12 and we don't feel like that anymore."
The mere mention of Tejada by Palmeiro in his testimony appeared to have a damaging effect on the shortstop.
"It's not good for anybody because I don't know what people think about me now," Tejada said. "I didn't do anything wrong. I just gave a B-12 to one of my friends to help him out. I don't give any steroids."
HPAC issued the following statement:
"Recent media reports suggesting either that Miguel Tejada may have distributed anabolic steroids to another player, or that another player has claimed this to be the case are simply incorrect. There is no evidence whatsoever supporting any claim that Miguel Tejada has ever provided any illegal substance of any kind to any player. The media speculation, accordingly, is simply incorrect."
The Post has reported that Palmeiro mentioned the B-12 to HPAC, but did not use it as a excuse. But sources close to the congressional investigation have said that Palmeiro is now using the vitamin as part of his defense of perjury charges stemming from his testimony at a congressional hearing in March in which he claimed he never took steroids. A noted steroids expert dismissed such a defense.
"B-12 in no way shape or form has anything to do with anabolic steroids with the exception that something was sabotaged in the B-12," New York University professor Gary Wadler said of the possibility that the vitamin caused a positive test result. "You can't use it as an excuse. Either they mixed [steroids] in it and did it themselves, or somebody sabotaged the B-12."
Orioles Notes: Brian Roberts visited his teammates for the first time since suffering his gruesome left elbow injury on Tuesday. Roberts tore a ligament and tendon in his elbow while colliding with New York Yankees outfielder Bubba Crosby. He will be sidelined the next six months, and is questionable for Opening Day next year. Roberts said he has not seen replays of the play.
"It felt like it was going to fall off," Roberts said.