For Hairston, steroids story shrinking fast

Notebook

June 17, 2007|By Compiled from interviews and other newspapers' reports.

Only once since the report came out this spring has Texas Rangers outfielder/infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. been heckled by a fan about his alleged connection to performance-enhancing drugs.

"I was in Toronto and I was on deck and a fan yelled at me, `Hey Hairston, if you are on steroids, you need to get your money back,' " recalled Hairston, who has hit .254 with two home runs in his first 67 at-bats this season. "That was kind of funny."

In fact, being associated with steroids would be funny for the easygoing Hairston, he said, if the ramifications weren't so serious.

In March, reports surfaced that a raided Mobile, Ala., pharmacy allegedly shipped human growth hormone to Hairston in 2004, which the former Oriole immediately and continually has denied.

He said he still hasn't seen legal documents that link him to the pharmacy, and he hasn't been contacted by Major League Baseball about the report or to testify before former Sen. George Mitchell. It seemingly has gone away, at least for now.

"It is one of those things, where it happened and I put it behind me," Hairston said. "I haven't really thought about it."

Hairston, 31, signed a one-year deal this offseason, so he'll again be a free agent at season's end, but he doesn't think the steroids whispers will damage his chances of staying in the big leagues.

"Those that are in the know or that have been around baseball and know my family or just look at me [know the truth]," he said. "If any general manager, manager or executive has looked at me for the last eight or nine years, they know what is what."

Hairston was 5 feet 10 and 172 pounds when he debuted with the Orioles in 1998. Now, he is listed at 185 pounds -- a gradual 13-pound increase in nine years.

Ignoring Holliday

It's an annual occurrence, the All-Star voting slight. This year's biggest gaffe looks like it will be the fans' failure to vote for Colorado Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday, who is tops in the National League in hitting and is among the leaders in several other categories.

According to the most recent All-Star vote totals, Holliday is eighth among NL outfielders, trailing such unworthy options as Andruw Jones and Moises Alou.

Holliday's manager, Clint Hurdle, said he's not one to campaign for an All-Star selection, but, "When I get asked, I'll tell people what I think."

St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa will pick the remainder of the NL team this year, and it probably doesn't hurt Holliday's case that he hit .391 with three homers in 23 at-bats versus the Cardinals this year.

Finally, bro

Detroit's Justin Verlander's 4-0 blanking of the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday was the Tigers' first no-hitter in 23 years. But it was the second in the Verlander household in 2007.

Justin's younger brother, Ben, threw a no-hitter for Goochland (Va.) High's junior varsity earlier this year. So what did the kid say to his 24-year-old big brother after Verlander's big-league gem?

"It's about time," Ben Verlander said, joking.

Murray's tough run

Hall of Famer Eddie Murray has hit the indignity trifecta in four years. Of the five teams he played for in his splendid 21-season career, Murray spent the most time with the Orioles, followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cleveland Indians.

In November 2003, he was a finalist for the Orioles' managerial job but lost out to Lee Mazzilli. In June 2005, Cleveland general manager Mark Shapiro, the son of Murray's longtime agent and close friend, Ron, fired Murray as Indians hitting coach. Then, on Thursday, Murray's hometown Dodgers canned him as hitting coach -- again just three months into a season.

Quote of the week

"I'm not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to. If I ever saw myself saying I'm excited going to Cleveland, I'd punch myself in the face, because I'm lying."

Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki, through an interpreter, when asked about the Mariners' one-day trip Monday to Cleveland to make up one of four games snowed out in April. The Mariners originally were scheduled to have the day off.

Quick hits

Verlander's no-hitter came the game after the Brewers had 22 hits against Texas. Dating to 1900, no team has had so many hits one day and then none in the next game. ... The injury-riddled Chicago White Sox have eight players on their 25-man roster who started the season in the minors.

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