A second set of lawmakers has asked baseball for information regarding Baltimore Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro's positive steroid test.
Representatives Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Joe Barton (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, sent a letter Tuesday to Commissioner Bud Selig asking for the following: the date of Palmeiro's test, the date of the results, the name of the person who administered the test, when Palmeiro was informed of the results, the time elapsed from when Palmeiro tested positive and when the public was informed, a timeline of the arbitration process, and whether this was the first case heard by an arbitrator.
"I really think in a way answering these questions will help us get a stronger bill and help [Selig's] with his negotiations with the union," said Stearns, a sponsor of the Drug Free Sports Act of 2005. "Nothing would have happened without us doing anything. These people have been taking steroids for years."
The request by Stearns and Barton is independent of the inquiry made last week by the House Government Reform Committee. At a hearing held by that committee in March, Palmeiro denied ever using steroids. Neither committee has been sent any paperwork regarding Palmeiro, but that may change by the end of the week.
"We said we would comply with all the requests," said Richard Levin, baseball's senior vice president of public relations. "We've known all along that more than one committee has been involved with this."
Palmeiro is nearing the end of his 10-day suspension for testing positive for a steroid. According to several baseball sources, he will meet with his representatives on Wednesday to determine when he will speak to the media and how much information he will reveal before his return on Thursday. In a statement on Aug. 1, the day his suspension was announced, Palmeiro said he was not allowed to details specifics of his case because of a gag order by the arbitrator. That no longer appears to be the case.
The Baltimore front office continues to be quiet regarding Palmeiro. Neither owner Peter Angelos nor Vice President Mike Flanagan returned phone calls and Executive Vice President Jim Beattie declined to comment.
"Rafael is intent on returning and playing," Arn Tellem, one of Palmeiro's representatives, wrote in an e-mail. "There has never been a thought to the contrary. We've have not heard from the Orioles on this matter but from the very beginning they have been extremely supportive."
Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo said he spoke with Palmeiro on the phone this weekend while in Texas. Palmeiro asked if the new manager wanted him back. Perlozzo said yes.
"My business now is to see that the team plays as good as they win and they win as many as they can," Perlozzo said. "Raffy is a big part of that. So when he comes back, he's part of this team. I'm not the judge or the jury here. I'm a baseball guy who wants our team to win. And if Raffy is the guy and he goes through the proper channels and is allowed to come back to play then we're going to take him back."