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Indians in steroid report


CLEVELAND (AP) — Indians pitcher Paul Byrd was among those named Thursday in the Mitchell Report on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.

He was the only current player from the Indians named in the report.

Former Indians catcher Tim Laker told Mitchell investigators he used steroids and acknowledged four transactions with Radomski involving Deca-Durabolin and testosterone beginning in 1995 when he played for Montreal.

Laker, who made his managerial debut last season at short-season Mahoning Valley, told investigators he was convinced it would improve his performance and stopped taking them in 2000, a year before he joined the Indians.

Laker is now a roving catching instructor for the Indians’ minor league system.

Other former Indians linked to performance-enhancing substances when they weren’t with the club are outfielders David Justice, Glenallen Hill, Chad Allen and Mark Carreon; pitchers John Rocker, Kent Mercker, Steve Woodard, Jason Grimsley and Ron Villone; and infielders David Segui, David Bell and Matt Williams.

Byrd acknowledged taking Human Growth Hormone after the San Francisco Chronicle reported he spent nearly $25,000 on the banned drug and syringes from 2002-05. The 37-year-old claims he was taking it for a medical condition. The revelation came the morning of Game 7 of the AL championship series in Boston.

The Mitchell Report didn’t provide any new information on Byrd except to say that neither Mitchell nor his investigative staff had knowledge of allegations against the right-hander before the newspaper report.

He has not yet met with Major League Baseball to discuss his use of the drug and could face a possible suspension.

Byrd was 15-8 with a 4.59 ERA in 31 starts during the regular season and won two playoff games for Cleveland. It was his highest win total since 2002, when he was with Kansas City. The Indians last month picked up his $7.5 million club option for 2008.

The Indians declined immediate comment.

Byrd held a news conference on Oct. 21 at Fenway Park, where he said he was taking HGH for a pituitary tumor. He wouldn’t elaborate on his condition and would not answer questions about whether he still was taking the drug.

He strongly denied hiding his use of HGH, banned by baseball in 2005. The newspaper reported Byrd made his final purchase of HGH a week before the ban began.

Byrd said baseball officials knew he had been taking the drug, but baseball officials said they were unaware of Byrd’s use of HGH.

The report accuses Major League Baseball of missing warning signs of steroid use and mentions several instances, including one involving former Indians outfielder Juan Gonzalez.

On Oct. 4, 2001, Canadian border officials at Toronto’s airport found steroids and syringes in an unmarked bag that came from Gonzalez’s entourage.

Gonzalez denied knowledge about the bag’s contents to a customs officer and Toronto police and claimed he sent it to be included in the team’s luggage at the request of his personal trainer, Angel Presinal.

Presinal told law enforcement he packed the steroids and helped administer them to Gonzalez. When interviewed this year by the Mitchell investigation, Presinal denied he made such a statement.

The case was reported to the Major League Baseball’s commissioner’s office but was not investigated.


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