O's doubt prevalence of steroid use


Caminiti's claim of use league-wide is questioned

May 30, 2002|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Former major-league infielder Ken Caminiti's assertion in this week's Sports Illustrated that at least half of today's players use steroids is being met with skepticism inside the Orioles' clubhouse.

Caminiti revealed that he took steroids while winning the National League's Most Valuable Player award in 1996, making him the sport's first prominent athlete to admit using the substance. But he caused a bigger stir by linking so many others to the drug.

"Everybody's entitled to their opinion," said shortstop Mike Bordick. "I don't know if he wants to hurt some players or has a vendetta, or maybe he's doing it from a good-natured side. Maybe he sees people getting hurt on it."

"Of all the teams I've played on, I'd say that's false," Jeff Conine said. "I can't pick a handful of guys on the teams I played on, at least that I'd know. To my knowledge, that's grossly exaggerated."

Conine doesn't dispute that steroids have infiltrated the sport. "I'm sure there's some [use]. Everybody knows that," he said.

Major League Baseball doesn't test for the substances or have a comprehensive, collectively bargained, drug-testing program like the NFL or the NBA. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig told the magazine that it's "in the best interest of the players" to test for drugs such as steroids.

"As someone who doesn't use them, you look at it as possibly creating a competitive unbalance if someone has an advantage in the same job I'm doing," Conine said. "But it would have to be something that everyone would vote on. I wouldn't be against it."

"The stuff's illegal," Bordick said, "and if it's hurting people, then it probably shouldn't be around."

Manager Mike Hargrove said he's unaware of any players using steroids.

"Obviously they've hidden it fairly well if it is taking place," he said. "If it's going on, then it certainly needs to stop, but I don't know how prevalent it is."

"I've never seen it," said outfielder Chris Singleton, "but you wonder sometimes the way balls are flying out of the park. If I took steroids, I would probably increase my power numbers, but to me it's not worth it."

Jose Canseco, who retired last week from Triple-A Charlotte, estimated that 85 percent of today's players rely on the substance to gain greater strength. He's vowed to write a tell-all book that will name names.

Waiting for Maduro

No decision has been made concerning Calvin Maduro's next scheduled start Sunday against the Seattle Mariners. Hargrove said he spoke with Maduro yesterday and plans to meet with pitching coach Mark Wiley.

Maduro has one victory since April 14, and the Athletics reached him for 11 runs and 16 hits during his past two starts, which covered only 8 2/3 innings.

Maduro began the season on the disabled list with forearm stiffness and suggested after Tuesday's loss that he might not be fully recovered, though he wasn't offering his health as an excuse.

"Calvin's OK," Hargrove said. "His arm's been bothering him on and off, but he's well enough to pitch."

Sean Douglass could take Maduro's turn in the rotation until Jason Johnson comes off the disabled list. Johnson will make his second injury rehab start later this week at Double-A Bowie.

Around the horn

Reliever Chris Brock pitched in an extended spring training game in Sarasota, Fla., last weekend and will continue his rehab assignment tonight in Bowie. He has been on the disabled list since April 16 with inflammation in his right shoulder. ... The May 16 postponed game against the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field has been rescheduled for June 13 at 1:05 p.m.

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