O's prominent in Mitchell Report

Yesterday's Mitchell Report thrust the Orioles back into the steroid scandal spotlight, with two of their All-Stars - second baseman Brian Roberts and just-traded shortstop Miguel Tejada - linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Roberts, considered the current face of the franchise, and Tejada, a four-time All-Star who was traded a day before the report's release, were among 19 current or former Orioles mentioned in former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell's 20-month investigation on steroid use in the sport.

"It's not a very good day for baseball," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "Obviously, but obviously let's get it behind us, learn from it, move forward and make the 2008 season a better one."

Roberts was included in the report after former Orioles teammate Larry Bigbie told investigators that Roberts admitted to him that he had "injected himself once or twice with steroids" in 2003. Roberts, who has repeatedly denied using steroids, didn't return several phone calls yesterday. His agent, Mark Pieper, said last night that his client wasn't commenting on the report.

Roberts and outfielder Jay Gibbons, who admitted earlier this month to using human growth hormone after he was assessed a 15-day suspension from Major League Baseball, were the only current Orioles mentioned in the report. No new information on Gibbons was cited aside from a 2003 e-mail correspondence between Los Angeles Dodgers officials that stated: "Gibbons is a guy [we] would have interest in but juice involved there."

Gibbons said yesterday that he was never contacted by Mitchell's committee and saw no point commenting on a topic that he has already addressed.

"I've already dealt with the issue," he said. "There's nothing new here."

Orioles owner Peter Angelos and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail didn't return phone calls seeking comment.

The list of past and present Orioles mentioned in the report included current Toronto Blue Jays catcher Gregg Zaun, the nephew of former Orioles catcher and coach Rick Dempsey, and relievers Todd Williams and Jason Grimsley, the latter of whom was with the club for 1 1/2 injury-marred seasons.

It ranged from players such as pitchers Darren Holmes, Ricky Bones, Kevin Brown and Kent Mercker and catcher Tim Laker, whose stays were brief, to first basemen Rafael Palmeiro and David Segui and utility player Howie Clark, who returned to the Orioles later in their careers for second stints.

Also cited were infielders Manny Alexander and Jerry Hairston and outfielders Jack Cust and Gary Matthews Jr. The latter two now play key roles for the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels, respectively.

Segui said earlier this week that he expected to be in the report and acknowledged to The Sun that he had experimented with anabolic steroids. Segui's relationship with former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, who is awaiting sentencing on steroid distribution charges, provided a prominent foundation for Mitchell's report.

According to the report, Segui introduced other teammates and friends to Radomski, including Bigbie and Roberts, two young Orioles whom Segui mentored. Bigbie, a former top Orioles prospect whose faltering career has landed him in Japan, was one of the most cooperative players in the investigation during interviews attended by federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents.

Segui didn't return calls last night, and Bigbie was unavailable for comment.

In the report, Bigbie recounted how Segui introduced him to steroids and injected him while they were teammates from 2001 through 2004. Bigbie also said Segui put him on cycles of steroids and testosterone that the first baseman supplied at no charge, and later gave him anti-estrogen once he stopped using steroids. Bigbie also implicated Roberts, who was a close friend of his and was even invited to Bigbie's wedding earlier this year, in the following excerpt of the report:

"Roberts and Bigbie were both rookies in 2001. According to Bigbie, both he and Roberts lived in Segui's house in the Baltimore area during the latter part of that season. When Bigbie and Segui used steroids in the house, Roberts did not participate.

"According to Bigbie, however, in 2004 Roberts admitted to him that he had injected himself once or twice with steroids in 2003. Until this admission, Bigbie had never suspected Roberts of using steroids. In order to provide Roberts with information about these allegations and to give him an opportunity to respond, I asked him to meet with me; he declined."

Roberts, who had said several times in the days leading up to its release that he hadn't given the report much thought, had previously been implicated in the steroid scandal in 2006 when The Los Angeles Times reported that he was accused of using performance-enhancing drugs by Grimsley in a federal affidavit.

At the time, Roberts said: "His accusations are ridiculous. We've had steroid testing, and I've taken all the tests."

Tejada, who was traded Wednesday to the Houston Astros for five players, was also reportedly mentioned in the Grimsley affidavit. His inclusion in the Mitchell Report came after former Athletics teammate Adam Piatt told investigators that he provided the shortstop with testosterone and hGH through Radomski. Piatt emphasized that he didn't know whether Tejada actually used the substances.

The report included copies of checks that Tejada wrote to Piatt for $3,100 and $3,200 in March 2003. Tejada, who has repeatedly denied using steroids, signed a six-year deal with the Orioles after the 2003 season.

Below is an excerpt that details Tejada's alleged involvement:

"According to Piatt, Tejada asked specifically if he had any steroids. Piatt believed that Tejada asked him because Piatt was in good shape and generally friendly with him. Piatt had several conversations with Tejada before a transaction occurred. Piatt admitted he had access to steroids and human growth hormone and agreed to obtain them for Tejada. Piatt recalled that he provided Tejada with testosterone or Deca-Durabolin, as well as human growth hormone.

"Radomski recalled receiving a call from Piatt during which he said he needed extra testosterone because 'one of the guys wanted some.' In a later conversation, Piatt told Radomski that the testosterone was for his teammate, Miguel Tejada. Radomski never spoke, or sold performance enhancing substances, directly to Tejada."

Like Roberts, Tejada declined to meet with Mitchell investigators and has repeatedly denied using steroids. He didn't return calls seeking comment yesterday.

In September 2006, Tejada told The Sun in response to Grimsley's reported allegations: "I know that I've never had a problem with that. I know that I've never used that, and I know I am clean. ... I'll get checked out for anybody, any time, any moment - whenever they want."

MacPhail said Wednesday that the timing of Tejada's trade to the Astros had nothing to do with the impending release of the Mitchell Report. He also said that the two sides had no discussions about nullifying the six-player deal if one of the players was named in the report.

"That really didn't have anything to do with it," MacPhail said. "It was a function of trying to add as many talented young players as I could possibly get for a very talented player that can help somebody win now."


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