Palmeiro records given to committee

Details of his appeal after failing steroid test are among documents

August 13, 2005|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - Representatives of a House committee met privately yesterday with lawyers for Major League Baseball and for Rafael Palmeiro as baseball turned over documents related to the Orioles first baseman's positive steroids test.

The documents include a record of secret proceedings before an arbitration panel to which Palmeiro had appealed the results of his positive test.

The House Government Reform Committee hopes the hearing transcript will provide more details about Palmeiro's defense that he did not "intentionally or knowingly" ingest the steroid that triggered a 10-day suspension.

Participants at yesterday's hour-long meeting agreed that all of the documents turned over by baseball were to be kept confidential. Committee aides declined to comment.

Palmeiro's suspension ended Thursday, when he returned to the club and said he couldn't answer specific questions.

Yesterday, Palmeiro said he was glad the committee review had begun. The panel wants to know if Palmeiro lied when he testified at its March 17 hearing that he had never used steroids.

"I am happy that has started," Palmeiro said before the Orioles' game against the Toronto Blue Jays last night. "Hopefully it will be over soon."

When his Aug. 1 suspension was announced, Palmeiro suggested to reporters in a conference call that that the banned substance - later disclosed to be stanozolol - may have been contained in a non-prescription supplement he was taking. He said his message to youths was, "You have to make sure you see a doctor and get whatever it is you're taking, a supplement, from a reputable source, and just be very careful."

According to aides, the committee hopes it can now learn more from the hearing record about what Palmeiro says he took. Palmeiro is believed to have provided a more detailed defense at the hearing than he did when addressing the media.

Palmeiro challenged the initial results of his drug test with baseball's four-person Health Policy Advisory Committee, made up of a union representative, a baseball representative and two doctors. The appeal was then forwarded to the three-person arbitration panel consisting of a baseball lawyer, a union lawyer and an independent arbitrator.

Palmeiro later maintained his innocence in a telephone conversation with committee chairman Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican.

Davis and Henry A. Waxman, the panel's top-ranking Democrat, said in a prepared statement yesterday that baseball had complied with its documents request and would "shortly begin its review."

While committee aides declined to say when the review would be complete, one said it would be a matter of "days, not weeks."

Palmeiro's March 17 testimony wasn't his first contact with Congress. In 2003, the House passed a resolution honoring him for hitting his 500th home run.

The resolution thanked him for being "a role model for the Cuban American community."

Sun staff writer Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

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