By Dave Sheinin and Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, June 8, 2006
The Arizona Diamondbacks released relief pitcher Jason Grimsley yesterday, one day after federal agents searched his house as part of a federal investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Grimsley admitted using steroids, amphetamines and human growth hormone, according to a search warrant affidavit filed April 18 in Arizona District Court by the Internal Revenue Service.
Grimsley, according to the affidavit, told investigators that he used amphetamines, steroids and growth hormone and told them about at least two doctors who have supplied major league players with growth hormone. He also told them about drug trafficking between players on teams in California and Latino players living in Mexico, where it is easier to obtain illegal drugs.
The revelations suggest that baseball players are circumventing the league's stricter drug testing policy by turning to human growth hormone, a performance-enhancer for which there is no reliable test. They also are likely to raise the ire of Congress, which has warned baseball it must crack down on the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
IRS agents appeared at Grimsley's house in Scottsdale, Ariz., on April 19 and told him they were aware a package he received through the mail obtained two "kits" of human growth hormone, which cost $1,600 apiece, according to the affidavit. The affidavit said that because Grimsley chose to cooperate with investigators, his house was not searched at the time.
According to the affidavit, Grimsley has "extensive knowledge" of illegal drug use by current players. The affidavit said a former employee of a major league team who served as a personal trainer to several players referred Grimsley to a source for amphetamines. Grimsley also said that a representative from a company that supplied bats and gloves to players served as a go-between for players to obtain amphetamines and growth hormone, according to the affidavit.
Grimsley said that until last season, coffee pots in some clubhouses were marked "leaded" and "unleaded," the affidavit said. The "leaded" coffee, the affidavit said, was laced with amphetamines.
Except for Grimsley, the players and other particulars in the affidavit were blacked out of the document.
"I am deeply saddened whenever there is an allegation that a Major League Baseball player is involved in the use of performance-enhancing substances," Commissioner Bud Selig said yesterday in a statement. "Because this is an ongoing criminal investigation, I will not make any comment about this specific case."
At Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore yesterday, Grimsley's former teammates on the Baltimore Orioles had little to say to the media. Last season, the Orioles were at the center of the steroid controversy in baseball when first baseman Rafael Palmeiro was suspended following a positive test for steroids.
"It doesn't seem like it's something we want to hear about again," Orioles Manager Sam Perlozzo said.
Grimsley spent all of the 2005 season in the Orioles organization, but missed the first 3 1/2 months because he was injured.
"I don't think that a lot of the things discussed in a clubhouse -- certainly not all of it -- is meant to be discussed in public," said Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, referring to Grimsley's statements.
In the affidavit, Grimsley said he used growth hormone exclusively this season, specifically because baseball does not test for it. Although baseball has toughened its steroid policy twice in recent years, due in part to pressure from Congress, "there is no universally accepted and validated test" for growth hormone, MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred said in a statement.
The affidavit was filed by IRS special agent Jeff Novitsky, who has headed the federal investigation into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (Balco), a San Francisco area nutritional supplements company implicated in a steroids distribution ring. Among Balco's clients were Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants and several other prominent baseball players.
Grimsley's release from the Diamondbacks came at the pitcher's request, according to a team official. His agent indicated Grimsley, 38, likely would retire.
Staff writer Jorge Arangure Jr. contributed to this report from Baltimore.