By Dave Sheinin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 7, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 6 -- Baltimore Orioles outfielder Jay Gibbons and former Washington Nationals outfielder Jose Guillen were suspended for 15 games by Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig on Thursday for using performance-enhancing drugs, becoming the first active players to be punished despite not having failed drug tests.
Guillen, who Thursday also completed a three-year, $36 million contract with the Kansas City Royals, and Gibbons will begin their suspensions at the start of the 2008 season. They had been linked in recent months by media reports to purchases of human growth hormone and steroids from an alleged illegal distribution ring being investigated by the district attorney's office in Albany, N.Y.
The length of the suspensions is consistent with what second-time offenders would have received under the terms of the drug-testing policy in place in 2003-04. Under baseball's current policy, first-time offenders are suspended for 50 games. MLB officials had discussed the punishments with the players' association in recent days, but insisted there were no negotiations involved.
The commissioner's office also announced that former Orioles outfielder Gary Matthews Jr., Scott Schoeneweis, Troy Glaus and Rick Ankiel -- who also had been named in media reports as having received illegal drugs -- were not punished because of "insufficient evidence."
According to ESPNdeportes.com, Guillen, 31, vowed to appeal his suspension but did not comment further. The San Francisco Chronicle reported last month that Guillen bought nearly $20,000 worth of HGH and steroids from a Palm Beach, Fla., rejuvenation clinic currently under investigation. The purchases allegedly occurred between 2003 and 2005, including some while he played for the Nationals.
In a statement Thursday, Gibbons admitted his HGH use and implied he would not challenge it.
"I am deeply sorry for the mistakes that I have made," Gibbons said. "I have no excuses and bear full responsibility for my decisions. Years ago, I relied on the advice of a doctor, filled a prescription, charged the HGH, which is a medication, to my credit card and had only intended to speed my recovery from my injuries and surgeries. I hope that my family, teammates, fans and [Orioles owner] Peter Angelos and the entire Orioles organization will accept my apologies and that we can all move on."
In September, SI.com reported that Gibbons, 30, had received shipments of HGH and steroids between 2003 and 2005 from a pharmacy under investigation for illegal distribution.
Some time in the next two weeks, former Senate majority leader George Mitchell is expected to issue his long-awaited report on steroid use in baseball, and league executives are bracing themselves for the disclosure of the names of dozens of players in the report.
"We signed Jose knowing [a suspension] was a possibility," Royals General Manager Dayton Moore told reporters in Nashville, at baseball's winter meetings. "While my initial reaction is one of disappointment, I am thoroughly convinced that Jose will put this behind him."