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Senior Democrat seeks hearings on steroid use

2/24/2005

WASHINGTON -- A senior House Democrat urged Thursday that
Jose Canseco and others the former baseball slugger accused of
abusing steroids, including Mark McGwire, be called before Congress
to testify on use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Rep. Henry Waxman of California, the top Democrat on the House
Government Reform Committee, said representatives from Major League
Baseball and the players' association also should appear before the
panel to explain how they plan to stop the use of dangerous drugs
by baseball players.

Waxman made his request for hearings to the chairman of the
committee, Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va. There was no immediate response
from Davis' office.

In Canseco's book, "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash
Hits & How Baseball Got Big,'' he admits using steroids and alleges
that McGwire often injected the drugs with him. He said he
introduced steroids to former Rangers teammates Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez and Ivan Rodriguez. All have publicly
denied Canseco's charges.

"Mr. Canseco insists his information is accurate,'' but Major
League Baseball says it will not investigate the allegations,
Waxman said. Hearings with Canseco, McGwire and others "would be
an opportunity to find out what really happened and to get to the
bottom of this growing scandal.''

Major League Baseball and the players union in January agreed to
a tougher steroid-testing program that will suspend first-time
offenders for 10 days and randomly test players year-round. Players
and owners hope to finalize their new agreement by Tuesday, the
mandatory reporting date for spring training.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who had threatened baseball with
legislation, praised the agreement as a "significant
breakthrough'' but said he would have preferred tougher penalties
and the inclusion of amphetamines on the list of banned items.

The commissioner's office and the union had no immediate
comment.