Current, former BoSox deny Crawford's story

Updated: June 24, 2006, 10:50 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Former Boston Red Sox teammates of Paxton Crawford are criticizing Crawford's account of steroid use in his brief stint with the team in 2000 and 2001.

Crawford told ESPN The Magazine's Amy K. Nelson that he was introduced to steroids in the minor leagues and to human growth hormone and amphetamines during his time with the Red Sox. He blames steroids for the back injuries that forced him out of the game.

But former Red Sox teammates doubted Crawford was with the team long enough to have been advised by teammates on using steroids or HGH. Crawford made 15 starts with the team in 2000 and 2001 before back injuries derailed his career; he is now retired and working on his family farm in Arkansas.

Among Red Sox on the current roster, only outfielders Manny Ramirez and Trot Nixon, catcher Jason Varitek and pitcher Tim Wakefield were on the team at the same time as Crawford.

Wakefield, the team's longest-tenured player, had harsh criticism for Crawford.

"If he admits to taking steroids, that's his fault. He shouldn't deface the organization by saying someone else told him to take it. That's stupid," Wakefield told the Boston Herald. "To me he sounds like a guy who's bitter at the organization. He should be thankful they gave him an opportunity to play. No one forced him to take anything. I remember him not being too bright. That's what I remember about him."

"There's so much we don't know about what other guys are doing," Varitek told the Boston Globe. "We know on the field, where we all compete. Granted, this team over the years has gotten to where guys hang out more, go to dinner, and I still don't think you're necessarily going to know, no matter what it is."

Former Red Sox players who were with the team in 2000 said they didn't remember much about Crawford or of seeing steroid use in the clubhouse.

"I would say most of the guys on the team wouldn't even remember who Paxton Crawford was, that's how little he was there," former second baseman Jeff Frye told the Herald. "I think Paxton's a guy that probably saw things a little differently than everyone else."

"Nobody offered me anything as I was aging in my career, especially inside that locker room," added former catcher/first baseman Mike Stanley. "I had heard guys talk about it in other places, but never once in 15 years did I see a needle or any drugs. Maybe I had my head in the sand"

"Jeff Frye -- you're telling me he was a user?" Stanley continued. "Troy O'Leary. Nomar [Garciaparra]. Varitek would probably wring your neck if you suspected him. Same with Trot -- he spent hours and hours in the weight room. I'm trying to think back to my teams. Pedro [Martinez]. John Valentin. Even Mo Vaughn wasn't that big. I've just rattled off eight or 10 names. I can't imagine that any of them were doing anything."

But a Boston Red Sox player did face an MLB steroids investigation.

In 2000, infielder Manny Alexander was investigated after steroids were found in the glove compartment of his car. Alexander had let a bat boy borrow the car during a road trip, and on June 30, when Boston police pulled the car over, they found vials of steroids and syringes in the glove compartment.

According to media reports, Alexander's name was on the envelope that contained the steroids.

In 2005, the Globe reported that state police sought a criminal complaint against Alexander alleging possession of steroids. But charges were never filed, as a district court clerk magistrate ruled there was insufficient evidence to press charges.

In that same Globe report, Alexander denied the steroids were his. "If it was me, they would have taken me to the court. It wasn't mine.

"Major League Baseball did my test. They tested me in New York after that thing. I think you got the wrong guy to ask questions to."

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