3 O's are accused of drug use

Astros Clemens, Pettitte also named in affidavit based on statements by former Oriole Grimsley

October 01, 2006|By Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec | Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec,Sun reporters

Three of the Orioles' most popular and highest-profile players were accused of being anabolic steroid users by former teammate Jason Grimsley in a federal affidavit earlier this year, the Los Angeles Times is reporting in today's editions.

Grimsley said All-Star shortstop Miguel Tejada, second baseman Brian Roberts and designated hitter Jay Gibbons "took anabolic steroids," the Times reported. All three Orioles vehemently denied the report in interviews with The Sun after last night's 5-4 victory against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

"I don't pay attention to what [Grimsley said]," Tejada said. "I know that I've never had a problem with that. I know that I've never used that, and I know I am clean.

"I don't worry about anybody who puts me in that stuff. I'll get checked out for anybody, any time, any moment - whenever they want."

Gibbons said: "I have passed every test administered by Major League Baseball over all the years. I have never taken anabolic steroids. And I am not going to dignify these claims and accusations with any further response."

Roberts said much the same.

"His accusations are ridiculous," Roberts said. "We've had steroid testing, and I've taken all the tests. There is no point in getting into verbal wars. That's really all there is to say."

The Times learned the information from a source who viewed an unedited copy of the search warrant affidavit filed in federal court in Arizona on May 31.

Also named by Grimsley are Houston Astros star pitchers Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte and former Orioles first baseman David Segui, according to the Times' source, who had authorized access to the document and allowed the Times to see it before retaining it and reading back the previously redacted information.

A second source and confidant of Grimsley's had previously disclosed player identities and provided additional details about the affidavit to the Times. The sources insisted on anonymity.

A workout fanatic since before he debuted with the Orioles in 2001, Gibbons said he knows his muscular physique and power potential have made him the subject of steroid rumors. But, as the club's player union representative, he has been an outspoken proponent of stronger drug testing.

Tejada, the Orioles' Most Valuable Player two of the past three seasons, has been at the center of performance-enhancing drug talk before. Jose Canseco, in his 2005 book Juiced, said that in 1997 he lectured Tejada, then his rookie teammate with the Oakland Athletics, about steroids, "and he seemed interested in what I was saying." Canseco never said he shared steroids with Tejada, but he implied that Tejada's increased strength and size came from artificial means.

Then, late last season, former Oriole Rafael Palmeiro, who had tested positive for the steroid stanozolol, suggested to a federal committee that he must have received a tainted supply of liquid vitamin B-12 from Tejada in April.

The panel learned that Tejada routinely used B-12, not legal in the United States without a prescription, and shared it with teammates. But specimens that Tejada forwarded to the government were free of stanozolol or other steroids, and Tejada was cleared by the committee.

"I don't know why they always bring up my name. I already had trouble with Palmeiro last year," Tejada said. "I am not stupid. I already have my money. I already have great numbers. I've already had a great career. Why should I do something stupid with Grimsley?"

An irritated Tejada continued: "I don't cheat in this game. Everything I do is because I work hard and try to get better. You think if I use steroids ... that I'd play as many [consecutive] games as I play? Sometimes I don't understand. If you get caught, you got to bring somebody else in. You have to throw people under the bus."

Gibbons, too, sounded outraged by the allegations.

"I never had a single meaningful conversation with Jason Grimsley in my life. ... This is a joke," Gibbons said.

Perhaps the most surprising name involved is that of Roberts, the 5-foot-9, 175-pound second baseman whose boyish good looks and squeaky-clean image have helped make him a poster boy for the organization.

"Grimsley and I had zero relationship when he was here," Roberts said. "I haven't talked to Grimsley about anything related to steroids in my life."

Club owner Peter G. Angelos, reached by phone last evening, deferred comment to Orioles Executive Vice President Mike Flanagan.

"I haven't seen it yet, so as of right now I can't comment on it," Flanagan said during a telephone interview. "It wouldn't be fair at this time. We have to see what context this is all in."

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