Perlozzo OK with steroid interview

Manager and O's group to be questioned in MLB drug probe

June 16, 2006|By JEFF ZREBIEC | JEFF ZREBIEC,SUN REPORTER

TORONTO -- Though unsure of what it will entail, Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said yesterday that he has no issue with talking to investigators in the probe of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.

The group, headed by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, is expected to meet with personnel from all 30 major league teams, with the Orioles' turn coming Wednesday and Thursday in Baltimore.

Investigators have requested interviews with Perlozzo, pitching coach Leo Mazzone, strength and conditioning coach Tim Bishop, executive vice president Mike Flanagan, vice president Jim Duquette and director of minor league operations David Stockstill, according to team sources.

"That's all I know," Perlozzo said before the Orioles' 4-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre yesterday. "They want to talk to me. It doesn't surprise me. It sounds like most managers and some other people in the organization. I don't exactly know the total, I just know they're going to be talking to me. I don't have a problem."

Perlozzo and Bishop said they learned of the investigators' interview request about a month ago, and the meetings have already been pushed back once. The Washington Post first reported yesterday that investigators, who started their work for Major League Baseball in March, had scheduled interviews with several Orioles officials.

"I was told about it right before we left for this [trip] that there would be something coming," Bishop said. "I wasn't told dates or times or things like that. That's all I know. I haven't been told what the scope of it is, what I am going to be asked or anything. It's been very sketchy."

According to team sources, H. Russell Smouse, Orioles general counsel, on Tuesday will brief those who will be interviewed and then accompany them to the sessions. Reached last night, Smouse declined to comment.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the Mitchell investigators already have talked to officials from the Minnesota Twins, including manager Ron Gardenhire. Perlozzo acknowledged that he talked to Tom Kelly, former Twins manager and now a special assistant to general manager Terry Ryan, while the Orioles were in Minnesota for a three-game series last weekend. Perlozzo said Kelly was part of the Twins' contingent that spoke to investigators.

"All clubs are expected to be involved with it," said Flanagan, declining to offer any more details.

The Orioles' organization has been near the forefront of the steroid controversy, starting in March 2005, when two of its players, Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa, were called to testify before the House Government Reform Committee.

Palmeiro was suspended in August after he tested positive for steroids. He then implicated teammate Miguel Tejada, saying that a vitamin B-12 shot given to him by the Orioles shortstop might have caused his failed test.

Former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Jason Grimsley is the latest player with Orioles ties in the doping controversy. Grimsley, an Oriole from June 2004 until the end of last season, admitted earlier this year to federal authorities to using steroids, amphetamines and human growth hormone. He was suspended for 50 games Monday.

Several Orioles officials said they aren't sure if the above-mentioned cases put them under greater scrutiny.

"I don't know much about it. I can tell the truth and feel totally comfortable with it and know it's not going to endanger anything," Perlozzo said. "It's like we talked about last year. As long as you're honest and tell the truth, the answers are easy."

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Dan Connolly contributed to this article.

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