Segui: I told O's about need for hGH

Flanagan says club was unaware of ex-player's medical condition

June 21, 2006|By ROCH KUBATKO | ROCH KUBATKO,SUN REPORTER

Former Orioles first baseman David Segui, who revealed over the weekend that he is one of the players named in Jason Grimsley's affidavit on drug use in baseball, said yesterday that he informed the club in 2003 that he had obtained a prescription for human growth hormone.

However, one team official said last night he wasn't aware that Segui, who retired a year later, had received the medication through a physician.

"He never revealed to us or the medical staff that he had a chronic condition that required human growth hormone," said Mike Flanagan, executive vice president of baseball operations. "That information was never divulged to us."

In a phone interview yesterday with The Sun, Segui said he notified the organization -- specifically, former executive Jim Beattie -- that he was prescribed hGH because of an abnormally low insulin-like growth factor count, "but not right away."

Beattie couldn't be reached to comment yesterday.

Segui also said he never advised Grimsley to use hGH, which was added to Major League Baseball's list of banned substances this year, and first suggested that the pitcher "shut it down" after undergoing ligament-reconstructive surgery on his right elbow in October 2004. When Grimsley said he wanted to use hGH to speed his recovery, Segui recommended the same physician in Florida who had prescribed it to him.

"He didn't ask me for advice. He didn't ask me [anything]. He told me he was going to take it," Segui said.

Grimsley, who pitched for the Orioles in 2004 and 2005, was granted his release from the Arizona Diamondbacks after federal agents searched his Scottsdale, Ariz., home June 6 as part of an investigation into his alleged steroid use.

Segui said he recognized parts of his conversation with Grimsley in the pitcher's affidavit and knew his name eventually would be leaked for his use of hGH. A 15-year veteran whose career ended in 2004, Segui said he obtained the drug legally through a prescription and scolded Grimsley for leaving out such an important detail.

"Once the names are released, everybody is lumped together," said Segui, who broke into the majors with the Orioles in 1990 and returned to them in 2001 after signing a four-year, $28 million contract.

"I'm like, `I'm doing this legally.' People said I should get a lawyer and I shouldn't say anything. I don't have anything to hide. It wasn't illegal."

Segui was preparing for knee surgery in 2003 when he said pre-operative blood work revealed a low insulin-like growth factor reading. He said he registered a 114 on a scale of 114 to 492, which led to a doctor's prescription for 10 six-milligram vials of Somatropin at $199 apiece.

Segui, who was 37 when given the results, faxed copies of the test results and his prescription to The Sun.

"I had to fill out my medical history. I've had 15 or 16 surgeries. It filled the whole darned page," he said.

"The doctor told me that someone who works out as much as I do shouldn't have this problem. But my level was so low, it was almost off the chart. I wasn't even close."

The doctor, who is based in Florida, has asked Segui not to reveal his name because of unwanted publicity.

Dr. E.K. Schandl, the clinical laboratory director at American Metabolic Laboratories in Hollywood, Fla., said it's common to prescribe hGH under these circumstances. Somatropin is a medication used to treat, among other things, growth failure and growth hormone deficiency.

"On our scale, for a 40-year-old person, the optimum level is almost 500," said Dr. Schandl, an oncobiologist and clinical and nutritional biochemist. "A reading of 114 is abnormal for his age. That would be a 120-year-old male on an average scale. That really cries for help.

"I definitely would want an individual like that to be helped by some growth hormone."

Segui said he doesn't believe there are many players using hGH. He also said the Florida doctor didn't prescribe the medication, which is injected with a small needle, for performance-enhancing reasons.

"It's not something people are clamoring for," he said. "There aren't that many people using it, as far as I know. Recreational drugs are a lot bigger problem."

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Dan Connolly contributed to this article.

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