Commissioner wants focus on field

Updated: March 4, 2004, 1:44 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Bud Selig wants to put baseball's focus back on the field. To do that, the commissioner has an idea: limit talk about steroids.

Selig recently sent a directive to all 30 teams, telling them to decline comment on the BALCO case "specifically" and performance-enhancing drugs "generally."

Although the memo was not sent to players, some of them liked the move.

"I think it's a good thing," pitcher Russ Ortiz, Atlanta's union representative, said Wednesday. "There's a lot of comments out there. It's not just the players. It's other people, too. But it's all speculation.

"Right now, no one is reporting on baseball. They're reporting on all this other stuff. Let's focus on baseball and let the other stuff take care of itself."

Said Braves manager Bobby Cox: "I've not heard about it. I wish I had gotten that yesterday. I'd rather not address it anymore."

"I can't comment on anything to do with the drug investigation because potentially we can all be witnesses to this. It is a legal proceeding," Giants owner Peter Magowan told ESPN.com. "Naturally we prefer the focus to be on the field.

"I have my own feelings about this and a time will come when I can say what those feelings are."

The talk about steroids has swept spring training, with increased speculation and scrutiny over which players might have used them.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Barry Bonds was given the substances by his personal trainer -- who got them from the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative.

According to the newspaper, investigators also were told that steroids were given to New York Yankees stars Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield.

Trainer Greg Anderson gave the players the drugs from BALCO, according to information given to the government and shared with the newspaper. Anderson has been charged with participating in a ring that provided performance-enhancing drugs to pro athletes.

Giambi's brother, Jeremy, had little to say about the issue.

"It's just something that's going on," he said at Dodgers camp. "I really can't talk about it. At some point, I will have a comment."

Asked about his brother, Jeremy said: "He's going about his business; he's got a season to play. He's getting ready to have another big year."

The subject of steroids has been a daily topic at Yankees manager Joe Torre's news briefings. The first question Tuesday was about the Chronicle report, and Torre politely said "next question."

Later, Torre was asked whether he was declining comment because he was told to keep quiet or because he didn't want to talk about the subject. He said both.

"I can't talk about something I don't know anything about. We feel that we really don't want to comment on this thing," he said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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