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Union says Mitchell never said before last week he would show evidence

10/17/2007 - MLB

NEW YORK -- A lawyer for baseball players says George Mitchell never told the union before last week that he was willing to show its members evidence of doping allegations against them.

Mitchell, who has spent 1½ years investigating the use of
performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, said Friday that he asked
players to meet with him "for the purpose of directly providing
them with the evidence about the allegations and to give them a
chance to respond."

Union general counsel Michael Weiner said Tuesday that Mitchell only informed players of that stance during a meeting last week and in a letter Friday. Weiner wrote to the former Senate Majority leader on Tuesday asking him to clarify his position and to provide his timeframe for completing the investigation.

"He certainly had not suggested prior to last week that the
purpose of asking these players to come in was to provide them with
evidence, provide them with anything," Weiner said.

Until now, Mitchell has provided players only with general
notice that they have been accused, giving them the year of the
alleged conduct and the team they were playing for at the time. He
has not told them of the substances they are accused of using.

Active players generally have refused to meet with Mitchell, who
is a director of the Boston Red Sox. The only active player known
to have met with him was the New York Yankees' Jason Giambi, who did so only after commissioner Bud Selig threatened discipline for remarks in a newspaper interview.

"In our view, the senator's current statement of his position
can't be squared with substantial correspondence between the
senator and the association over the course of the investigation
nor can it be squared with communication and conduct directly with
individuals who have been interviewed," Weiner said.

"What we're asking him to do is clarify exactly what his position is, and then we'll figure out what to do going forward. I don't think what he said is accurate. It certainly is not accurate if what he's saying, 'It's been my position since March 1, 2007.' "

Mitchell did not respond to requests for comment.

Thomas Carlucci, a lawyer on a firm representing baseball, told
teams last week that the report likely will be issued in November or December. He also told them to be prepared for Mitchell's report to contain names of players alleged to have used performance-enhancing substances.

On Monday, a person familiar with the probe said Mitchell has received an extensive paper trail documenting performance-enhancing drugs sent to players by former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski.