Angels manager sees no witch hunt

Updated: February 26, 2004, 10:29 PM ET
Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Mike Scioscia disagrees with Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker's assertion that there's "McCarthyism" going on over which players might be using steroids.

"I don't have the perception it's a witch hunt," the Anaheim Angels manager said Thursday. "I see it as a priority in the system to make sure the playing field is level for everyone."

Scioscia said there wouldn't be rumors about which players may be using steroids if testing is effective.

"And if testing were in place earlier, a lot of these guys would be exonerated," Scioscia said.

Colorado reliever Turk Wendell earlier this week accused San Francisco's Barry Bonds of using steroids, saying it was "clear just seeing his body." Bonds has always denied using steroids.

Starting this year, a first positive test would cause a player to be put in treatment and a second would lead to a 15-day suspension or fine of up to $10,000.

"It's an important first step, but if they're going to do it, it has to be how experts say it will be the most effective, and to have proper penalties," Scioscia said. "I don't think the penalty phase is sufficient. It has to be a deterrent. Penalties should be strict enough to let people know that they're serious about it, say, 'Hey, there's no room in the game for this.' "

Anonymous survey testing last season showed 5 to 7 percent of the tests were positive, triggering the start of testing with penalties this year

Baker said earlier this week that players around the major leagues were being tainted by suspicions of steroid use.

Scioscia appreciates that the players' association agreed to the testing.

"It's the result of a grass-roots effort by players who have put pressure on their (union) leaders to do something," he said. "It's a very complex issue. It's whether to say, 'I'll give up some of my liberties because it's an important issue.' "

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press