By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 14, 2007
A day after the Baltimore Orioles traded shortstop Miguel Tejada to the Houston Astros, he was among the current and former Orioles linked to performance-enhancing drugs by former Senate majority leader George J. Mitchell's report on steroid use in baseball.
Second baseman Brian Roberts, a former all-star, was also among those named in Mitchell's report.
Citing Adam Piatt, Tejada's former teammate with the Oakland Athletics, the report said Tejada, a former American League Most Valuable Player, purchased steroids and human growth hormone in 2003.
"According to Piatt, Tejada asked specifically if he had any steroids," the report said. "Piatt believed that Tejada asked him because Piatt was in good shape and generally friendly with him.
"Piatt had several conversations with Tejada before a transaction occurred. Piatt admitted he had access to steroids and human growth hormone and agreed to obtain them for Tejada. Piatt recalled that he provided Tejada with testosterone or Deca-Durabolin, as well as human growth hormone."
According to the report, Piatt's bank provided the investigators with copies of two checks written to Piatt by Tejada, one for $3,100 and the other for $3,200. Both are dated March 21, 2003. Copies of both checks are included in Mitchell's report.
According to the report, Piatt told former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk J. Radomski that he needed to purchase testosterone for an associate, whom he later identified to Radomski as Tejada. Radomski was interviewed four times by Mitchell's investigators, according to the report, and told them of his conversation with Piatt about Tejada. Radomski told the investigators that he never spoke to Tejada or sold performance-enhancing drugs directly to him, the report said.
Tejada was not available to comment. One of his agents, Diego Bentz, said: "I've got no comment."
Fernando Cuza, another representative of Tejada, did not return telephone messages.
According to the report, Tejada declined to meet with Mitchell.
Former Orioles player and coach Rick Dempsey said of the allegations in the report about Tejada: "The suspicion was there. I don't know what the truth is. I coached on teams that Tejada played on. I never saw him take drugs. I never even saw him take an aspirin. I never paid attention. That wasn't my job. My job was to work with the catchers. There were just suspicions about some guys."
Andy MacPhail, the Orioles' president of baseball operations, did not return messages. He said during a conference call with reporters Wednesday that the pending release of the Mitchell report "really didn't have anything to do with" the timing of the trade and "was never discussed" with the Astros.
Astros owner Drayton McLane said in a written statement released by the team: "Now that the Mitchell report has been released, the Houston Astros are currently reviewing its contents. The Astros support the process that has taken place to compile this report, as well as the recommendations offered by Sen. George Mitchell.
"As we move forward, we will continue to strongly support the testing program agreed upon by the commissioner's office and the Players Association. We feel this program is an effective step in eradicating the use of performance-enhancing substances, and we continue to support this endeavor 100 percent. We also wish to thank Sen. Mitchell for his efforts."
The report also mentioned former Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro's statement during a congressional investigation that he had received legal injectable vitamin B12 from Tejada. Texas Rangers officials expressed internal concerns about possible steroid use by Tejada when they were considering trading for the shortstop in 2005, the report said.
In the report, Roberts was accused by former Orioles teammate Larry Bigbie, who was interviewed by the investigators, of steroid use in 2003. The report said both players, as rookies, were living in the Baltimore area house of teammate David Segui late in the 2001 season.
"When Bigbie and Segui used steroids in the house, Roberts did not participate," the report said. "According to Bigbie, however, in 2004 Roberts admitted to him that he had injected himself once or twice with steroids in 2003. Until this admission, Bigbie had never suspected Roberts of using steroids."
Roberts was not available to comment. He did not return a message left through the Orioles. According to the report, he declined to meet with Mitchell.
"I'm not surprised about any of the names," Dempsey said in a telephone interview. "I haven't seen the entire report. I never saw anyone take a steroid. But you have knowledge of the high production of certain players. It sends up a flare when you see some guys' production go way up. . . . Absolutely things will change now. There's an awareness of it. They'll find a way to test for HGH. Everything will change for a while, and then something else will come into baseball. There's always something new, and there's always someone experimenting with something to gain an edge."
Former Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said when reached by telephone: "I'm just trying to catch up. I'm trying to digest all of this."
Other current or former Orioles mentioned in the report include Jay Gibbons, Jason Grimsley, Gary Matthews Jr., Jack Cust, Jerry Hairston, Tim Laker, Gregg Zaun, Kevin Brown, Howie Clark, Todd Williams, Manny Alexander, Darren Holmes, Ricky Bones and Kent Mercker. The report said the Orioles failed to report Segui's use of human growth hormone to the commissioner's office after executives were informed of it by Segui, who indicated he was using the substance under a doctor's supervision, in September 2004.