By 2003, Radomski was supplying Bigbie with performance enhancers and hGH. But Bigbie doesn't believe he was one of the 104 players who failed an anonymous test that year, the one that eventually led to Yankees great Alex Rodriguez's admitting last week to his previous steroid use.

"No one ever told me I had failed, so I don't think so," Bigbie said.

Because he switched to hGH, which is undetectable by urine tests, Bigbie said he has never tested positive for any banned substances.

By 2005, Bigbie said Bogdan asked whether he could help him get steroids and hGH, and Bigbie made a call to Radomski on his buddy's behalf.

Radomski, in his book, admits to sending shipments to a "friend of a friend" who ended up being the federal informant. The Novitzky affidavit confirms this. It was the key break the investigation needed.

Bigbie said he never asked Bogdan why he wanted the drugs.

"A lot of guys made fun of like how he was a little guy and maybe he got tired of people ragging on him. That was what was in my head," Bigbie said. "I was thinking like, 'It's a waste; you're wasting your money.' But I wasn't thinking: 'Why, dude? Are you trying to turn me in or something?' But I wish I was thinking that way."

Caught in the sting by the informant, Radomski began working with the federal government, sending out packages tracked and seized by Novitzky. One went to Grimsley, another to Bigbie.

"I knew they had me because the package came to my door and they followed the package in," he said. "It wasn't 10 minutes later that they came in."

Novitzky told Bigbie he needed to cooperate, and he did.

"They were asking me things that I had no idea how they got the answers to, and what are you going to say?" Bigbie said. "They didn't come in here to try and put the finger on me. They were coming here just trying to find out that what they got from this guy was true."

Bigbie acknowledged that he was scared, that it was a "different type of pressure" than he had ever felt in a baseball game. At the same time, he said the investigators were professional, that Novitzky was "a real nice guy."

'Not proud'
Only one other time in the next two years did Bigbie tell his full story - in 2007 to the Mitchell investigators. When the report came out at the end of that year, Bigbie was floored.

He couldn't understand why so much was pinned on him. He had no idea what to say to people such as Roberts and Cust.

"It was never my intention for it to sound like I rolled over on them or I willingly gave up information," he said. "It was a situation where obviously they had gathered information from somebody else ... and it was a matter of whether I was going to lie or confirm these answers."

Cust denied allegations of steroid use, but Roberts admitted to using the drugs once in 2003 and offered a public apology.

Bigbie said he hasn't spoken to either player since the report came out - but he hopes one day that changes.

"I was drafted with Brian. We played together from DayOne. To lose a friendship with someone like that, it's not a good feeling," Bigbie said. "I don't want them to have bitter feelings toward me even if I never see them again. I just want to clear that air, and hopefully they can understand what really happened and forgive me for what happened."

Contacted by phone, Roberts said he holds no ill will toward Bigbie.

"It's not Larry's fault. I don't blame Larry for my situation. I don't want to relive this whole thing all over again, but I made a bad choice. I've dealt with it, and I've moved forward." Roberts said. "I don't hate Larry. How can I blame somebody else for something I did? I feel bad for Larry for what he's gone through, because we were good friends."

As for his relationship with Bogdan, Bigbie said it had cooled by 2006. It's definitely over now.

So, likely, is Bigbie's majorleague career. He'll play in Mexico to start the season and hopes to get back to Japan at some point this year. He's also looking ahead to the rest of his life with his wife and 2-year-old daughter.

He's hoping to complete his degree online - he's about one year short - and wants to teach physical education and coach at an Indiana high school. His dream, he said, laughing, is to coach football.

He understands his baseball legacy will forever be defined not by what he did on the field, but what he did off it. He was one of those guys with so much promise who was swallowed up by the sport's drug scandal.

"I'm not going to sit here and have this black cloud over my head for the rest of my life," he said. "I met a lot of great people, and my life is going to go on. I pulled a lot of good things out of baseball, but obviously I am not proud of what happened."

Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

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