Giambi, MLB meet amid report he failed amphetamines test

Updated: May 24, 2007, 2:09 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Jason Giambi met with lawyers for the commissioner's office Wednesday to discuss recent comments that some interpreted as an admission of steroids use.

"The commissioner requested that Jason come in in response to the USA Today piece. Jason was interviewed this morning,'' union general counsel Michael Weiner said.

The meeting came the same day that the New York Daily News reported that Giambi had failed an amphetamines test within the past year.

Jason Giambi
Giambi

The newspaper reported that with the failed amphetamines test, Giambi has been subjected to six additional tests for one year. The newspaper did not cite any sources in its report.

Asked about the report at Yankee Stadium, Giambi said: "I can't give you an accurate explanation."

According to ESPN's Peter Gammons, multiple sources are questioning whether the report is true.

Giambi has not been asked to take follow-up tests, which is what would occur if he had a first positive test for amphetamines.

Also, Gammons reports that the subject of amphetamines was not raised at Wednesday's meeting.

Asked about the meeting, Giambi said, "I hope it went smooth. It was definitely a willingness on both sides."

Giambi told ESPN that another meeting isn't scheduled and wouldn't say whether the topic of disciplinary action was discussed. The meeting, at baseball's main office, lasted less than an hour.

"It's more or less now wait and see," he said.

Giambi said he hopes he doesn't become a distraction to his teammates. "I hope not … it's the last thing in the world I would want."

Yankees manager Joe Torre said "we have no knowledge" of a positive test.

General manager Brian Cashman said commissioner Bud Selig "personally told me that he is going to be looking into this and investigating the situation, and for us to no-comment. And that's what we're doing."

"What we should have done a long time ago was stand up -- players, ownership, everybody -- and said: 'We made a mistake,"' Giambi told USA Today. "We should have apologized back then and made sure we had a rule in place and gone forward. ... Steroids and all of that was a part of history. But it was a topic that everybody wanted to avoid. Nobody wanted to talk about it."

Cashman also said he wasn't trying to trade Giambi, who has a no-trade clause and $21 million in salary due this year as well as next year, the final guaranteed season in his contract.

"That's not something that's currently on my plate," Cashman said.

Yankees captain Derek Jeter said the reports weren't a distraction to Giambi or the team.

"I don't think he's concerned about it," Jeter said. "If it doesn't bother Jason, I don't see why it should bother anybody."

The meeting included Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president for labor relations, senior vice president Frank Coonelly and Howard Ganz, an outside lawyer.

Giambi brought along agent Arn Tellem, lawyer Brian O'Neill and Weiner, who represented the players' association.

Tellem and Manfred declined to discuss the meeting.

Management and players did not agree to ban steroids until late 2002. Testing with penalties did not begin until 2004 and penalties for a first offense didn't start until 2005.

An agreement was reached before the 2006 season to also ban amphetamines. An initial positive test subjects a player to counseling and up to six additional tests over the next year, and a second positive test leads to a 25-game suspension.

Gene Orza, the union's chief operating officer, said baseball officials could not confirm or deny the News report because they don't want the absence of a denial in any drug-testing case to be interpreted as a confirmation.

Names of players who test positive for amphetamines for the first time are not made public. The only other player linked to a positive amphetamine test has been Barry Bonds. When the Daily News reported in January that Bonds had tested positive, Bonds issued a statement that neither confirmed nor denied he did.

"I'm upset at the fact how we found out about Barry Bonds' positive test and now Jason's," Yankees center fielder Johnny Damon said. "It doesn't seem like the guidelines of the drug testing [are] being done correctly when anybody can go around and leak something that we don't know if it's true or not and we're not supposed to know until they get in trouble for the second time."

Giambi has been a figure in baseball's drug controversy for several years. He told a federal grand jury in 2003 that he used steroids during the 2001-2003 seasons and Human Growth Hormone in 2003, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in 2004.

Giambi made a general apology before spring training in 2005 but didn't specify what he was apologizing for. The New York Yankees' designated hitter then was quoted in USA Today last Friday as saying:

"I was wrong for doing that stuff. What we should have done a long time ago was stand up -- players, ownership, everybody -- and said: 'We made a mistake.' We should have apologized back then and made sure we had a rule in place and gone forward. ... Steroids and all of that was a part of history. But it was a topic that everybody wanted to avoid. Nobody wanted to talk about it."

In his comments to USA Today, Giambi was quoted as saying: "I'm probably tested more than anybody else. I'm not hiding anything."

While it would be difficult for baseball to penalize Giambi for using steroids before the 2002 drug agreement, any admission of use in 2003 would be a gray area. Baseball had survey testing without penalties that year -- the union is fighting government efforts to link tests with names -- and any attempt to discipline players for that year likely would wind up before an arbitrator.

Hall of Famer Frank Robinson took issue with one of Giambi's comments, saying the Yankees first baseman should speak for himself.

"If Jason wants to confess, then he should come out and say: 'I'm guilty. I apologize. I apologize to baseball. I apologize to all the fans that have supported me and supported baseball over the years. And I will clean up my act and promise you I will not do anything like this again,"' Robinson said during an interview on ESPN. "He should not drag others into [it], because when he says baseball, that includes everybody in baseball."

Before the Yankees played Boston on Tuesday night, Giambi was asked about a report in the New York Post that the Los Angeles Angels had interest in acquiring him. Giambi has a full no-trade clause.

"This is all news to me. I'm a Yankee," he said. "It's kind of fun to read. I never asked for it."

Giambi, who has been hobbled by a bone spur in his left heel, was hitting .268 with six home runs and 19 RBIs as of Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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