Nationals right fielder Jose Guillen was one of the players stunned by the suspension of Baltimore Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro for steroid use. But Guillen said yesterday that he blames the players' association for not properly informing players of, exactly, what is banned and what is not.
"I blame pretty much this whole thing on the players' association, our union, for not telling the players," Guillen, holding a piece of paper, said before last night's 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. "Everybody's supposed to be having a sheet like this on what we can take and what we cannot take. And we don't have it.
"You know what? We pay this union that we have so much money to take care of us, and try to make everything clear, and we don't see any of these guys doing their job."
Guillen said he chose to believe Palmeiro's assertion that he inadvertently took steroids, and several players said they were wary of over-the-counter supplements.
"There's a lot of stuff at GNC [a nutritional store] and those places that are contaminated with steroids or something, and who knows?" Guillen said. "It's a long season, and players try to get some help from something, vitamins, and you go to GNC, and you don't even know what you're taking."
Guillen said it should be the union's job to explicitly outline the substances that could cause positive tests, including supplements.
"You tell me what is their job, our union that we have," Guillen said. "It's to protect us. What can we take? What can we not take? To me, they have been doing a [poor] job of protecting us."
Vidro Is Back in Lineup
Second baseman Jose Vidro, who sat out the previous two games against the Marlins in Miami with a strained right quadriceps, was back in the lineup. "Defense is no problem," Vidro said. "Hitting is no problem. It's just running." . . .
Infielder Junior Spivey, on the disabled list since July 9 with a broken right wrist, is back in town and targeting a return in early September.