Teams, Management Also Turned a Blind Eye

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Mitchell report pointed out instances in which apparent evidence of the use of performance-enhancing substances was not pursued by teams, Major League Baseball or the union. Here is a sampling:


This section of the report describes several such instances the commission discovered during its investigation. In each, club personnel came across potential evidence of a players' use of steroids or other performance-enhancing substances but did not report that evidence as required by baseball's drug policy.


In September 2004, David Segui told co-General Manager Jim Beattie that he wanted to see a doctor who had given him human growth hormone. Bettie said he had no knowledge of Segui's use of HGH before this conversation. Co-GM Mike Flanagan confirmed that Beattie told him Segui was "going to Florida to get human growth hormone." Segui has since admitted publicly that he used HGH.


In 2006 interviews with ESPN Magazine and, pitcher Paxton Crawford admitted using steroids and HGH while with the team. He told of an incident in which syringes he had wrapped in a towel were spilled onto the floor of the clubhouse, which he said caused laughter among his teammates. The commission interviewed six people who were with the team at the time of the event and none could recall the incident.


At the end of the 2004 season, a clubhouse employee was cleaning out the locker room when he found a black toiletry kit that was locked. He and another employee opened the bag and found unused syringes and vials that they determined were anabolic steroids. The employee said that he could not remember to whom the bag belonged.


In 1999, an employee of a hotel where the Astros had stayed forwarded a package that had arrived there to Barry Waters, director of travel. The package was addressed to an alias used by Ken Caminiti. Waters opened it and found glass vials containing a white liquid that he believed to be anabolic steroids and pills that he believed to be vitamins. Waters did not deliver the package to Caminiti -- who admitted in June 2002 that he used steroids during his career.


In 1999 or 2000, visiting clubhouse attendant Chuck Hawke found syringes and vials hidden in a sunglasses bag when he was unpacking David Segui's luggage. Hawke told his supervisor, but they decided to replace the syringes and vials. During that period Segui played for four teams -- Seattle, Toronto, Texas and Cleveland. The report did not specify which team he was with at the time of the incident.


In 2000 or 2001, a visiting clubhouse manager found a used syringe on top of a trash can. He told Manager Tom Kelly, who told him to dispose of it. Kelly confirmed the incident and said he did not report it because he felt it was the other team's issue to address. The visiting team was not named in the report.


In 1998 or 1999, a clubhouse employee saw two players in the clubhouse looking into a small box. The employee heard one of the players say "Winstrol." When the players noticed they were being watched, they put the box away.


These incidents were detailed in the section on the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative investigation.


After the 2003 season, the Dodgers considered signing Bobby Estalella -- among those later implicated in the Balco investigation -- as a free agent. During a three-day meeting, Dodgers officials assessed many players, including the possible use of steroids by some players.

Detailed notes were kept, including an observation by one of the participants that Estalella was a "poster boy for the chemicals."

According to a footnote in the report, the officials who participated in the meetings included special scouting advisor Gib Bodet, senior adviser John Boles, GM Dan Evans, team physician Frank Jobe, athletic trainer Stan Johnston, Manager Jim Tracy, advance scout Mark Weidermaier, senior scouting adviser Don Welke and director of amateur scouting Logan White. The report did not name the participant who made the remark about Estalella.


Trainer Stan Conte said he met with GM Brian Sabean during spring training in 2000 to express concern the presence of Greg Anderson and Harvey Shields, members of Barry Bonds's entourage, in the clubhouse, weight room and other restricted areas. Sabean told Conte to order them out himself. Conte asked Sabean to support him if he did, and Sabean did not respond, so Conte took no action.

During the winter of 2001, Kevin Hallinan, baseball's director of security, met with team physicians and athletic trainers about the importance of clubhouse security. Assistant trainer Barney Nugent and Conte told him there were issues with clubhouse security related to Bonds's entourage. According to Conte, Hallinan promised "we are going to do something about this."

In January 2002, Giants president and managing general partner Peter Magowan agreed in a letter to Bonds that "Barry will provide the Club with a list of the personnel typically and historically needed. . . ." In August 2002, a player Conte refused to identify told him he was considering obtaining steroids from Greg Anderson. Conte said he reported the incident to Sabean within an hour, although he refused to name the player. Sabean suggested Conte confront Anderson and Bonds, which Conte refused to do. Sabean confirmed Conte's recollection of the conversation was accurate but said he asked Conte to have someone "check out" Anderson. Conte asked an acquaintance who was a DEA agent to investigate, but he told Conte he did not find any information on Anderson. Conte relayed that to Sabean, who said he believed that if Anderson was doing anything illegal, the DEA would know. So he did not confront Bonds or Anderson or take steps to prohibit Anderson from gaining access to the Giants' facilities.

Sabean also said he was not aware at the time that he was required to report information regarding a player's drug use to the commissioner's office.

In 2003, when Manager Dusty Baker learned that Marvin Benard was named in the Balco investigation, he asked Benard if the allegations were true. According to Baker, Benard admitted he had used steroids but had stopped. Baker did not report this to Giants management or the commissioner's office.

At the end of the 2003 season, clubhouse attendant Mike Murphy was cleaning out catcher Benito Santiago's locker when he found a sealed package of syringes. He gave them to Conte. He and assistant athletic trainer Dave Groeschner decided not to follow up with Santiago because he was becoming a free agent at the end of the season. He subsequently signed with the Kansas City Royals.

Conte did not report the incident to Giants management or to the commissioner's office.


In the section of the report dealing with information uncovered during former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk J. Radomski's cooperation with the U.S. Attorney's office, several incidents involving teams were mentioned in detailing player involvement.


Infielder Chris Donnels cooperated with investigators. He said that he told athletic trainer Matt Wilson that he was considering using performance-enhancing substances. Wilson told him to "look it up on the computer" and said "I don't need to hear anything about it." Wilson did not recall any such conversation.


Radomski produced a check from Dan McGinn, a former clubhouse attendant. The amount was $1,600 and the memo line said "Neagle," apparently referring to pitcher Denny Neagle. Radomski said the check was for performance-enhancing substances purchased by Neagle.


When outfielder Lenny Dykstra reported to spring training in 1989, "his increased size was noticeable," according Radomski.

Radomski told investigators that members of management discussed Lenny Dykstra's weight fluctuations with the athletic trainers and that "the trainers would just laugh."



In September 2000 a clubhouse employee discovered a bottle of anabolic steroids and several hundred pills in a package at the Diamondbacks' ballpark, apparently intended for Alex Cabrera. General Manager Joe Garagiola Jr. reported the incident to the commissioner's office, which sent the package to the DEA. The vial was found to contain an injectable anabolic steroid, and the pills were diet pills ("greenies"). Cabrera, whose contract had been sold to a Japan League team, asserted he did not know why the package was addressed to him. Baseball officials declined to seek permission from the union to interview active players about the incident. Instead, the security department held training sessions for minor league teams on the dangers of steroids.


In June 2000, clubhouse employee Carlos Cowart and a friend were sitting in infielder Manny Alexander's parked sport-utility vehicle when they were approached by Massachusetts state police officers. During a search of the vehicle, police discovered two hypodermic needles and a bottle of anabolic steroids. Charges against Alexander were sought but later dropped; Cowart and his friend were not charged. MLB and the union negotiated a "reasonable cause" drug test for Alexander, which was not administered until 45 days after the incident. The test was negative.


In October 2001, Canadian border service officers at the Toronto international airport discovered steroids, syringes and clenbuterol in an unmarked duffel bag during a search of luggage that had been unloaded from the Indians' flight from Kansas City. Equipment and clubhouse manager Ted Walsh remembered the bag as one that had been sent down with the luggage of outfielder Juan Gonzalez.

Law enforcement officials decided to replace the bag and see who claimed it. It was eventually picked up by Joshue Perez, a member of Gonzalez's entourage. He told officials the bag belonged to Angel "Neo" Presinal, Gonzalez's personal trainer, who was arriving on a later flight. Presinal was detained upon arrival at the team hotel. He claimed the bag belonged to, and had been packed by, Gonzalez. Gonzalez denied that and said it had been sent with his luggage at Presinal's request.

According to Indians security agent Jim Davidson, Presinal admitted he had packed the steroids but that he carried them for and helped administer them to Gonzalez. Davidson also said that Presinal claimed to have helped several other major league players in taking steroids. In his interview with the Mitchell commission, Presinal denied making any such statements.

The matter was turned over to Kevin Hallinan, who told Davidson his office would investigate. However, the commission could find no evidence that an investigation ever took place.


In June 2000, a clubhouse attendant brought a paper bag to team athletic trainers that had been found in the locker of pitcher Ricky Bones. It contained syringes, six vials of anabolic steroids and instructions. The trainers returned the bag and its contents to Bones at his request. The next day General Manager Dave Dombrowski was notified, and he reported it to the commissioner's office. Bones met with a physician affiliated with the players' union but was not examined. Several months later, he was given a urine test. In an interview with the commission, Bones acknowledged the incident and said he was never told the results of the test.


In September 2002, during a game against the Marlins in Montreal, Expos bullpen catcher Luis Perez -- who had held the same position with the Marlins from 1998 to 2001 -- asked a Marlins clubhouse attendant if he would carry a duffel bag back to Florida for him. The attendant agreed. Marlins equipment manager John Silverman, suspicious because the bag was padlocked, ordered it to be opened; Perez supplied the combination. Inside they found a box containing two plastic packages amounting to a pound of marijuana. He was charged with possession and fined $5,000.

After his legal problems were resolved and he returned to the States, Perez, in an interview with Hallinan and his deputy, Martin Maguire, said that when he was a bullpen catcher for the Marlins, two players asked if he could obtain steroids for him. Word spread, and he became a source for performance-enhancing substances. According to a memo from Hallinan written at the time of the interview, Perez alleged widespread use among Marlins players and the Expos' pitching staff. He gave Hallinan a list of eight players for whom he had acquired anabolic steroids, and 12 others for whom he had obtained other drugs.

Hallinan told the commission that the Perez incident could have been the "single most important steroids investigation" he conducted, but to his disappointment he was not given permission to interview the major league players named by Perez. The report does not indicate who denied him permission to speak to the players.

The report did not reveal the players named by Perez because the commission was unable to locate and interview him. However, the players he named were subjected to "reasonable cause" drug tests long after the allegations were made, and none tested positive for performance-enhancing substances.

-- Compiled by Tracee Hamilton

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company