By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 14, 2007
Paul Lo Duca, who was introduced on Tuesday as the Washington Nationals' starting catcher for 2008, was among the players alleged to have paid a former New York Mets clubhouse attendant for steroids, according to the Mitchell report released yesterday.
Over parts of four pages, the report detailed -- in both the text of a personal note and a copy of a handwritten note -- former Mets attendant Kirk J. Radomski's testimony that he "engaged in six or more transactions" with Lo Duca. Radomski also alleged to the investigative team of former Senate majority leader George J. Mitchell that Lo Duca referred him to four other players.
The report said that Radomski sent performance-enhancing substances to Lo Duca's home and to the clubhouse of the Los Angeles Dodgers, for whom Lo Duca played from 1998 to 2004. Lo Duca's name, address and telephone number were listed in the address book seized from Radomski's Long Island home in December 2005.
Neither Lo Duca nor his agent, Andrew Mongelluzzi, returned messages yesterday. The Nationals, who signed Lo Duca to a one-year, $5 million contract earlier in the week, issued a statement last night declining to comment on the report in general and on their own players specifically because they "have not yet had an opportunity to fully review" the Mitchell report. Both President Stan Kasten and General Manager Jim Bowden declined interview requests.
The details of Lo Duca's alleged involvement came from the raid of Radomski's home. They included a note from Lo Duca to Radomski in which Lo Duca said his cellphone had broken and he needed Radomski's contact information. On another note -- written on Dodger Stadium stationery -- Lo Duca scrawled, "Thanks, Call me if you need anything! Paul." The report also suggested that Lo Duca referred at least four teammates -- Matt Herges, Adam Riggs, Kevin Brown and Eric Gagne -- to Radomski.
The report contained copies of three checks, each in the amount of $3,200, from Lo Duca to Radomski.
The report also mentioned notes from what it calls "an internal discussion among Los Angeles Dodgers officials" in October 2003 in which Lo Duca's trade value was evaluated. The notes said in part: "Steroids aren't being used anymore on him. Big part of this. Might have some value to trade. . . . Got off the steroids. . . . Took away a lot of hard line drives."
The club's notes, according to the report, also indicated that Lo Duca might go back on steroids after a trade to "try to show you he can have a good year." Lo Duca, the report said, wrote a check to Radomski for $3,200 on June 26, 2004, and was traded to the Florida Marlins just more than a month later. He issued another check to Radomski, the report said, on Aug. 7, 2004.
Lo Duca is the only current National named in the 409-page report. The names of four former Nationals -- outfielders Jose Guillen and Nook Logan, catcher Gary Bennett and reliever Mike Stanton -- appeared in different capacities.
Like Lo Duca, Logan, Bennett and Stanton were linked in the report to Radomski. The report offered no documentation of transactions involving Logan and Stanton.
Stanton, who pitched for the Nationals during the second half of the 2005 season and the first half of 2006, met Radomski in 2001 when he was pitching for the New York Yankees, the report says. "Radomski recalled making two sales of human growth hormone to Stanton," according to the report. Stanton paid $3,200 for two kits of human growth hormone early in 2003, Stanton's first season with the Mets, the report says, then paid $1,600 for another kit later that year.
One of Stanton's agents, Seth Levinson, did not respond to voice mails or e-mails seeking comment yesterday.
Logan, who came to the Nationals late in the 2006 season and was their Opening Day center fielder in 2007, was referred to Radomski by Rondell White, according to the report. Radomski told Mitchell's investigators that he sold Logan one kit of HGH just before the raid of Radomski's home in December 2005, when Logan was still with the Tigers. When Mitchell had his final interview with Radomski, Logan's phone number was still in Radomski's cellphone, according to the report.
Reached yesterday, Logan declined to comment.
"I got no reaction, no nothing," Logan said. "I'm just trying to stay focused."
Asked if he agreed with or denied the allegations in the report, Logan referred questions to his agents, Seth and Sam Levinson. Again, Levinson did not return calls or e-mails seeking comment.
Bennett was the Nationals' backup catcher in 2005. The report says that pitcher Denny Neagle, with whom Bennett was a teammate in Colorado in 2001-02, referred Bennett to Radomski. The report includes the copy of a check -- dated July 13, 2003 -- from Bennett to Radomski for $3,200, which Radomski said was for two kits of HGH.
Bennett exchanged messages with The Post yesterday, but did not offer a comment.
Guillen, who was the Nationals' right fielder in 2005 and 2006 -- until an elbow injury sidelined him -- was one of 16 players named in media reports after the fallout of a raid on a Florida pharmaceutical firm by federal agents. The accusations against Guillen stemmed from a November report in the San Francisco Chronicle that said Guillen purchased nearly $20,000 of HGH, testosterone and other steroids from 2002 to 2005.
Mitchell's report offered no new information on Guillen's alleged purchases. MLB suspended Guillen, who played last year for the Seattle Mariners and just signed a three-year, $36 million deal with the Kansas City Royals, for 15 days at the start of next season. The players' union, under Guillen's orders, filed a grievance seeking to overturn the suspension. Arbitrator Shyam Das will decide whether to uphold or overturn the suspension.