On the same day that three key members of the Orioles' organization met with an investigative committee looking into performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, the club's former top executive detailed a conversation he had with an Orioles player in 2004 about human growth hormone.
Jim Beattie, the Orioles' executive vice president from December 2002 until he was demoted to a consultant's position last October, told The Sun yesterday that former Orioles first baseman David Segui informed him on Sept. 12, 2004, that he was using hGH.
Beattie contends that he pointedly asked Segui why he was using the substance, which is now illegal under baseball's new drug policy, and was given no answer.
Segui was placed on the disabled list the next day and never played major league baseball again.
Segui, who was with the Orioles from 1990 to 1993 and again from 2001 to 2004, told The Sun on Tuesday that he had informed the club in 2003 that he was using hGH because a doctor discovered his insulin-like growth factor reading was extremely low and that he needed the drug to increase his levels.
He said he told Beattie about his condition, "but not right away."
Beattie vehemently denies knowing anything about Segui's hGH usage until that September 2004 day. Beattie also was confused by statements that current executive vice president Mike Flanagan, Beattie's former co-GM, made in The Sun on Wednesday denying knowledge of Segui's hGH use.
Beattie said he told Flanagan on that day in 2004 what he had learned from Segui. Yesterday, Flanagan clarified his previous statements.
"[The question] was, 'Did we know about any chronic medical condition with David Segui?' And the answer to that was, 'We did not,' " Flanagan said. "I would reiterate that Segui told Jim Beattie that in September of '04, Segui's last year, that he was - and Jim related this to me - going to Florida to see a doctor to get hGH and with that he left the club."
A few minutes later, Beattie, reached by phone, clarified Flanagan's clarification. He said he never told Flanagan that Segui was going to Florida to get hGH, but said Segui was "going down to see a doctor to get his blood monitored. He could have gotten [the hGH] in Mexico as far as I knew."
Beattie then retold his side of the story from Sept. 12, 2004 - one he said he relayed to Flanagan moments after it happened.
Beattie said the two officials were watching the game from a team suite at Camden Yards when someone called Beattie from the home dugout and said that Segui needed to see him.
Beattie said he met Segui in then-manager Lee Mazzilli's office moments later. Mazzilli had wanted Segui to pinch-hit that night, but Segui attempted to swing a bat, declared that he had too much pain in his wrist and said he was "done."
Beattie asked if he wanted to go back to Kansas City to the doctor that performed his past wrist surgery and Segui, according to Beattie, said: "I want to go to Miami. There's a doctor down there who monitors my blood level because I've been on hGH.
"He didn't say the doctor gave it to him, that he was on a prescription or where he got it. Just that he was on hGH," Beattie recalled. "I said, 'What the hell are you doing using that stuff?' And he just kind of passed it off. He didn't answer the question.
"He said he was going to Miami to see this guy and I said, 'David, do what you want to do' and that was it. It was matter-of-fact. He left the room and I went back up to our box and told Mike exactly what our conversation was."
When told of Beattie's account, Flanagan said he didn't recall such an extensive story but agreed with the essence: That was the first time the two men had learned of Segui's hGH use.
Segui made it public last weekend in an interview with ESPN, one that was prompted by the testimony of former Oriole Jason Grimsley in a federal affidavit filed in court in Arizona. Although specific names have been blacked out, the affidavit states that Grimsley admitted using hGH, amphetamines and various steroids, and he accused several former or current players of hGH use.
Segui - based on a conversation detailed in the affidavit - said he immediately knew he was one of them. He said he wanted the public to know that he acquired the drug legally - by prescription - and that he never "advised" Grimsley to use it.
Since there was no way the often-injured Segui, who signed a four-year, $28 million contract with the Orioles in December 2000, was going to return to the Orioles in 2005, Beattie said he never further discussed hGH with the player.
In retrospect, Beattie, who is still on the Orioles' payroll but has no defined role, said he probably should have told the league office what Segui had said, but "it was after the fact. He was gone, essentially. But just for information purposes, probably yeah."
Beattie also said he was bothered by the public perception - furthered by the Segui story - that he and Flanagan "weren't on the same page ... that Mike and I didn't get along and didn't communicate when in fact the opposite was true."
Flanagan held a brief news conference during last night's Orioles game to address the Segui-Beattie issue and yesterday morning's conference with members of former Sen. George Mitchell's probe into performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.
Flanagan, Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo and minor league director David Stockstill met with Mitchell's people for about two hours yesterday morning at the downtown law offices of club owner Peter Angelos.
The interviews were conducted individually, with club general counsel Russell Smouse present for each. Vice president Jim Duquette and pitching coach Leo Mazzone are expected to be questioned today. Club officials stressed that the interviews were routine and were not particularly pointed even though the club has been at the forefront of steroid discussions for the past year and a half.
Flanagan would not offer specifics, saying that all major league personnel interviewed have been asked to treat the proceedings as confidential.
"The Orioles have been diligent in educating our players at both the major and minor league levels on not using steroids and other performance-enhancing substances," Flanagan read in a statement. "We will vigorously continue our efforts in this regard."
Perlozzo said of his interview: "I cooperated. I answered the questions honestly."
Mitchell's investigators plan to meet with officials from all 30 major league teams and already have interviewed Minnesota Twins officials. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters that the questioning focused on general issues more than specific players.
"This is one step in a long series of interviews," Perlozzo said. "We're certainly not singled out. To my knowledge, it's everyone in baseball."
Mitchell, the former Senate majority leader, launched his investigation earlier this year at the request of baseball commissioner Bud Selig. Mitchell's investigators do not have subpoena power, so they can only ask for cooperation from players and team officials.
Perlozzo reiterated yesterday the links between three Orioles - Grimsley, Segui and Rafael Palmeiro - and performance-enhancing drugs should not reflect on the whole organization.
"Because people choose to do it while in our uniform, that's certainly not a reflection on us," he said. "We've done everything we can to educate our people." firstname.lastname@example.org
Sun reporter Childs Walker contributed to this article.