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Gibbons, Guillen suspended under baseball's drug policy

Thursday, December 6, 2007

By RONALD BLUM

AP Baseball Writer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jose Guillen and Jay Gibbons were suspended Thursday for the first 15 days of next season for violating baseball's drug policy. The penalties are an indication how the sport might treat players named in the Mitchell report, which could be released next week.

Guillen and Gibbons were accused in media reports of receiving human growth hormone after January 2005, when it was banned by baseball.

Gary Matthews Jr., Rick Ankiel, Troy Glaus and Scott Schoeneweis also were linked to performance-enhancing drugs, but baseball decided there was "insufficient evidence" to determine they committed a doping violation. They were accused of receiving the substances before 2005.

Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell was hired by baseball commissioner Bud Selig in March 2006 to investigate drugs in baseball. A lawyer involved in the case said he had been told to be prepared for the report to be issued next Thursday, a possible release date first reported by The New York Times on its Web site. The lawyer spoke on condition of anonymity because the release date has not been made public.

Guillen instructed the players' association to file a grievance over his suspension, which would be decided by an arbitrator. Gibbons will not challenge his penalty.

Earlier in the day, Guillen and Kansas City finalized their $36 million, three-year contract.

"We signed Jose knowing that was a possibility," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said of the free-agent outfielder. "While my initial reaction is one of disappointment, I am thoroughly convinced that Jose will put this behind him and we collectively support him as he begins a new chapter in his baseball life."

Gibbons accepted responsibility and apologized.

"I am deeply sorry for the mistakes that I have made. I have no excuses and bare sole responsibility for my decisions," the Baltimore outfielder said. "Years ago, I relied on the advice of a doctor, filled a prescription, charged the HGH, which is a medication, to my credit card and had only intended to help speed my recovery from my injuries and surgeries."

The 15-day penalties match what a second offense would have drawn under 2003-04 rules. Current rules call for a 50-game suspension for a first offense, a 100-game penalty for a second and a lifetime ban for a third

"Jay has acknowledged his mistake, and we appreciate his willingness to accept the consequences," Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said.

Cleveland pitcher Paul Byrd was linked by the San Francisco Chronicle to purchases of HGH between August 2002 and January 2005. Byrd, who has not yet been interviewed by the commissioner's office, said he took it for a medical condition and did so under a doctor's supervision.

"Other open investigations should be completed shortly," MLB said in a statement.

The six players whose cases were resolved Thursday met with baseball officials after media reports that their names surfaced in a national drug investigation by the district attorney in Albany, N.Y.

The Chronicle reported last month that Guillen bought human growth hormone, two types of testosterone and the steroids stanozolol and nandrolone between May 2002 and June 2005.

Gibbons got six shipments of Genotropin (a brand name for synthetic human growth hormone), two shipments of testosterone and two shipments of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) between October 2003 and July 2005, SI.com said in September.

Ankiel, a St. Louis outfielder, admitted he used HGH in 2004. The New York Daily News reported he received eight shipments of prescription HGH that year. Schoeneweis, a reliever on the New York Mets, received six shipments of steroids in 2003 and 2004, ESPN.com reported.

"We're obviously pleased," said Scott Boras, the agent for Ankiel and Schoeneweis. "As we had said before with each of these players, they had not violated any baseball rule or any state or federal law."

Glaus, a Toronto third baseman, received multiple shipments of nandrolone and testosterone between September 2003 and May 2004, SI.com reported. His representative, Mike Nicotera, did not return a call seeking comment.

Matthews, a Los Angeles Angels outfielder, received Genotropin in August 2004, according to SI.com. His agent, Scott Leventhal, declined comment.

The Chronicle said Byrd made 13 purchases of HGH between August 2002 and January 2005.

Mitchell's investigation also received cooperation and documentation from former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, who was required to work with Mitchell as part of a federal plea agreement.



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