By Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec
September 18, 2007
Gibbons, making his first public comments since the story broke Sept. 9, told The Sun, "I met with Major League Baseball representatives [yesterday] and was happy to answer all of their questions."
He would not offer further comment on any aspect of the meeting or SI.com's allegations that he was among the clientele of Orlando-based Signature Pharmacy, which was raided earlier this year.
Neither Major League Baseball nor the Major League Baseball Players Association officials would confirm yesterday's meeting occurred. However, one source familiar with the meeting said it consisted of Gibbons, his representatives, two MLB officials and a union official.
Former Sen. George Mitchell, who is conducting a separate steroid investigation for MLB, was not represented. Commissioner Bud Selig also was not present.
As part of an investigation into a widespread Internet drug distribution ring, SI.com reported last week that Gibbons received six shipments of synthetic hGH, two shipments of testosterone and two shipments of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) from Signature. The shipments, which SI.com reported occurred between October 2003 and July 2005, were sent to Gibbons' Gilbert, Ariz., home.
Gibbons was the third major leaguer this month to be named in published reports as part of the Signature Pharmacy scandal, joining St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel and Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Troy Glaus.
Ankiel, who said he used prescription medication to recover from elbow surgery but would not reveal further specifics, met with MLB officials last Tuesday about the allegations. MLB officials also have asked to speak with Glaus.
"I think it was a good thing to do, and I was happy to help," Ankiel told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about his meeting. "I answered whatever questions they had. I was in full compliance with whatever they asked."
Shortly after the February raids, former Orioles Gary Matthews Jr. and Jerry Hairston Jr. were identified as players who allegedly received shipments of human growth hormone. They, too, denied the allegations and have yet to be reprimanded by baseball.
Under the current collective bargaining agreement, the commissioner's office has the power to penalize its players if they violate the drug policy. So far, Selig has handed down no punishment - and might not. Criminal charges have not been filed against the players, and most of the allegations occurred before baseball had a specific performance-enhancing drug policy, which was enacted prior to the 2005 season.
The allegations against Gibbons stretch into 2005, meaning he could be suspended if the commissioner's office pursues the case. But even then, the suspension likely would be 10 days - as it was in 2005 for first offenders - and not the 50 games it is now.
Gibbons, who has been with the Orioles since he made his major league debut in 2001, is on the disabled list. He has been rehabilitating in Arizona after shoulder surgery in August. In the second year of a four-year contract extension signed in January 2006, Gibbons batted just .230 with six homers and 28 RBIs in 270 at-bats.
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