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Tejada, Clemens, Bonds become focus of latest trip to Capitol Hill

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

JOSEPH WHITE

AP Sports Writers

WASHINGTON -- Taking on baseball's steroids problem once again, Congress kept the finger-pointing and tough questioning to a minimum. Maybe that's because the people under the most scrutiny this time -- Miguel Tejada, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens -- were nowhere to be seen.

Commissioner Bud Selig and union leader Donald Fehr accepted responsibility for the sport's drug boom and the author of the Mitchell Report defended his findings in the same wood-paneled House hearing room that hosted a far longer and far more contentious session in March 2005.

It didn't take long for the focus to shift to players Tuesday.

The hearing opened with word that Congress wants Tejada, the 2002 AL MVP, investigated for lying to federal authorities. The first witness, former Senate majority leader George Mitchell, testified he believes a former trainer's allegations that he injected seven-time Cy Young Award winner Clemens with steroids. And Selig told lawmakers that Bonds' San Francisco Giants should have reported concerns about the home run king's personal trainer.

The 4-hour, 15-minute session before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee also exposed what might be the latest drugs abused by the sport's stars: Ritalin and Adderall, stimulants better known as treatments for hyperactive kids. According to data provided to the committee by MLB and the union, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, there were 35 "Therapeutic Use Exemptions" for drugs in 2006, of which 28 were for ADD and ADHD medications. In 2007, the exemptions skyrocketed to 111, of which 103 were for ADD and ADHD.

Overall, though, Selig and Fehr found a far friendlier audience than they did on March 17, 2005, when they were chastised and grilled by the same committee for a lax steroids program. That 11-hour hearing is best remembered for Mark McGwire's infamous and oft-repeated phrase, "I'm not here to talk about the past," and Rafael Palmeiro's finger-wagging denial of steroid use only months before failing a drug test.

"I'm proud of the progress we've made. I never delude myself, because I know there's always more work to be done," Selig said after Tuesday's hearing. "But when you think of where we were three years ago to where we are ... I appreciated the response from them today."



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