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Tejada to Plead Guilty to Lying to Steroids Investigators
"No, I never heard," Tejada said, speaking through a Spanish interpreter.
Later, the investigator asked whether he knew of "any other player using steroids."
"No," Tejada answered. "I didn't know any player."
In early 2008, Tejada's denials began to concern members of Congress who had just reviewed a report by former senator George J. Mitchell on steroid use in baseball. The report alleged that Tejada discussed performance-enhancing drugs with a teammate, Adam Piatt, and purchased some from him in 2003. Lawmakers asked the Justice Department to investigate Tejada's truthfulness.
In court documents filed yesterday, prosecutors said Tejada's statements to congressional staffers contradict information supplied by Piatt, who is not identified by name.
Piatt told investigators that it all started one day in the Oakland Athletics' clubhouse when Tejada noticed Piatt's physique, authorities said. Tejada "mentioned that [Piatt] looked in great shape physically and asked [Piatt] what he was doing to help him be in such good physical shape," prosecutor Steven J. Durham, chief of the U.S. Attorney's Office's public corruption unit, wrote in court documents.
Soon, the conversations turned to Piatt's use of steroids and human growth hormone, Durham wrote.
Durham wrote that Tejada then bought human growth hormone from Piatt. Piatt told investigators that he did not know whether Tejada took the hormones.
Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), whose committee has investigated steroids in baseball, issued a statement saying that prosecutors have taken the "appropriate action" in Tejada's case.
"The recent revelations about steroid use by professional players should send a strong message to our youth about the consequences of the use of these dangerous and illegal drugs," said Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Tejada was once considered one of the top players in baseball, and the six-year, $72 million contract he signed with the Orioles before the 2003 season remains the largest in the history of the Baltimore franchise.
However, the Orioles traded him to the Astros for five players in December 2007, the day before the release of the Mitchell report on steroids in baseball.
His 2008 and 2009 seasons were, statistically, his worst since his rookie season of 1998.