Team thought it was protected by broader language

Updated: February 15, 2005, 5:58 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The New York Yankees acknowledged that they took the word "steroids" out of Jason Giambi's contract in 2001, USA Today reported Monday.

Giambi's remaining salary
2005 $15.5 million
2006 $19 million
2007 $21.5 million
2008 $21 million
2009 $22 million (Team has $5 million buyout clause)

The broader language he referred to s a provision of the contract which refers to "chemical dependency," as opposed to steroid use.

General manager Brian Cashman had previously denied a story in the New York Times that claimed steroids language was taken out of Giambi's contract.

"The story that's out there today is how way back when, when this was done, that steroids was almost like a private conversation between the player and his agent and the New York Yankees, that you can't have that policy in there because it's obvious the club would turn their head and stick their head in the sand and still invest all this money and say, 'Yeah, we'll just take it out, it will be our little quiet secret.' That's a lot of B.S., it's hogwash, it's not true," Cashman said on ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike Show on Friday morning. "If that were the case, you'd back off and walk away."

But Yankees officials on Monday said they removed the word "steroids" because they felt they were protected by broader language regarding drugs, USA Today reported.

"Saying that coverage (of steroids) use was removed from that contract is wrong," a baseball official familiar with the contract told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. "When you negotiate contracts, language goes back and forth. The reason the Yankees accepted the broader language is that they were absolutely sure steroids were still 100 percent covered."

According to the official, the broader language relates to a provision of the contract that refers to "chemical dependency," as opposed to steroid use.

"We believe there are provisions in the contract that would protect the Yankees' rights," team president Randy Levine said in a statement. Giambi's contract reportedly banned the slugger from using "illegal drugs" and from "chemical use and dependency."

"I can honestly tell you the Yankees had no knowledge that there was any knowledge of steroid use with Jason Giambi whatsoever," Cashman told ESPN Radio. "Common sense would rule the day -- if we did feel that way, then clearly we would have either steered away or protected ourselves in the strongest way of the contract."

Cashman told ESPN Radio that steroid language was not prevalent in the contract when Giambi signed with the Yankees.

"In the time and place that Giambi was signed, there was not a steroid policy and therefore steroids would go under the previous drug policy like Demerol or cocaine or anything else a player may be addicted to or gotten wrapped up in and he would go on what was called the administrative track," Cashman said.

"I'm not commenting on specific terms of the contract," Giambi's agent, Arn Tellem, told USA Today on Monday. "That is between Jason and the Yankees. Right now our focus is on the fact that Jason and the Yankees are united and moving forward."

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