Sweeney eager to move forward after report

Updated: January 14, 2007, 5:24 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- Mark Sweeney insists he never had any amphetamines in his locker for San Francisco teammate Barry Bonds to take.

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Sweeney said Friday he was shocked to learn that Bonds apparently mentioned his name in connection with the slugger's failed amphetamines test last summer. The New York Daily News reported Thursday that Bonds failed the test and initially attributed it to a substance he took from Sweeney's locker.

"There was nothing I had for him to take or for me to give to him," Sweeney told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

Sweeney moved forward after being told by Gene Orza, the union's chief operating officer, that his name had come up with a failed test for the stimulants. He wasn't informed of the player's name.

"That was kind of a shock," Sweeney said. "I heard my name was mentioned. I didn't know who mentioned it. I didn't know how or why. I was angered and hurt a little bit that however it came out someone didn't know the facts. That happens in all walks of life. ... It's more frustrating for my family. That's who I'm frustrated for. I've learned to deal with certain situations."

Sweeney said he was tested several times for amphetamines last season and has never failed any drug tests.

The 37-year-old Sweeney, heading into his second season with San Francisco and 13th year in the majors, batted .251 with five home runs and 37 RBIs last season.

He plans to discuss everything with Bonds at some point, probably during spring training. Sweeney said they chatted briefly about a week ago at a golf tournament at Torrey Pines.

Bonds released a statement to the AP on Thursday night that he never got amphetamines from Sweeney, though he didn't deny using them. A first positive test is not made public.

"He is both my teammate and my friend," Bonds said in the statement. "He did not give me anything whatsoever and has nothing to do with this matter, contrary to recent reports.

"I want to express my deepest apologies especially to Mark and his family as well as my other teammates, the San Francisco Giants organization and the fans," Bonds said.

Sweeney appreciated that gesture -- and felt it was necessary.

"From my side, I was hoping that [would happen]. I understood that's what needed to happen," Sweeney said. "It's over and done with for now and we can move on. We can start talking about baseball. It's something that's said and it's unbelievable. You shake it off. ...

"I treat everyone the same way," Sweeney continued. "I respect Barry just as much as I respect Noah Lowry and Matt Cain and the rest of the guys. Did I have a good relationship with him? Yes. Was it cordial? Yes. Did I hang out with him? No."

The 42-year-old Bonds is set to begin his 22nd major-league season only 22 home runs from breaking Hank Aaron's career home run record of 755. He will again deal with questions about whether his pursuit was fueled by steroids. Bonds has repeatedly denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

The Giants said they had heard nothing of a positive test by Bonds for amphetamines, banned by baseball for the first time in 2006. A second failed test results in a 25-game suspension, compared to 50 games for a first failed steroids test.

It could become a topic of conversation in contract negotiations between Bonds and the Giants. They came to agreement on a $16 million, one-year contract Dec. 7, but the seven-time NL MVP still hasn't signed the deal or taken the mandatory physical that is part of the process.

Language in the deal is still being worked out, dealing with Bonds' compliance with team rules and what would happen if he were to be indicted or have other legal troubles.

A federal grand jury is investigating whether the slugger perjured himself when he testified in 2003 that he had never knowingly taken steroids.

Sweeney, a career role player, has always preferred to stay out of the spotlight.

"Barry's statement coming out, I appreciate him saying it because it's the truth," he said. "You move on from there. I'm ready to get past that. A lot of people are trying to drum up more things.

"I know who I am and am very comfortable with what I am," he said.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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