Indians pick up $7.5 million option on Byrd
CLEVELAND -- Pitcher Paul Byrd, whose admitted use of human growth hormone served as a backdrop to the end of Cleveland's season, had his $7.5 million club option for 2008 picked up by the Indians on Tuesday.
Before Game 7 the American League Championship Series in Boston, Byrd acknowledged taking HGH after the San Francisco Chronicle reported he spent nearly $25,000 on the banned drug and syringes from 2002-05.
The 36-year-old Byrd claims he took HGH for a medical condition and did so only under a doctor's supervision.
Byrd has not yet met with Major League Baseball to discuss his use of the performance-enhancing drug. He could face a possible suspension.
Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said the club weighed all factors before exercising the option without hesitation.
"Looking at his on-field contributions and the teammate he's been in our clubhouse and the person he's been off the field in our community the last two years, it was a decision we were very comfortable with," Shapiro said. "It's safe to say we considered very carefully and in a detailed fashion every component of the decision."
Shapiro said he was unaware of Byrd's use of HGH until two days before Game 7. The newspaper reported Byrd had purchased HGH while pitching for the Kansas City Royals, Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels.
On a conference call from the GM meetings in Orlando, Fla., Shapiro said he has not heard from baseball officials about Byrd and that he has not had any lengthy talks with the pitcher about his HGH use.
Byrd went 15-8 with a 4.59 ERA in 31 starts during the regular season. It was his highest win total since 2002, when he was with the Royals.
During the AL playoffs, Byrd beat New York in Game 4 as the Indians knocked out the Yankees. He also won Game 4 of the ALCS over the Red Sox, who rallied from a 3-1 deficit to eliminate Cleveland before sweeping the Colorado Rockies in the World Series.
But on the morning of Game 7, Byrd's past use of HGH became an issue that caused a pregame distraction and seemed to cloud his future in Cleveland.
Byrd held a news conference before the decisive game at Fenway Park, where he said he was taking HGH for a "pituitary tumor." He wouldn't elaborate on his condition and would not answer questions about whether he was still taking the drug.
He strongly denied hiding his use of HGH, banned by baseball in 2005. The newspaper reported Byrd made his final purchase of HGH a week before the ban began.
Byrd said baseball officials knew he had been taking the drug, which he said he often stored in clubhouse refrigerators.
Although his saves were rarely routine, Borowski got the job done for the Indians in 2007 -- his first season with the club. Cleveland entered spring training without a closer and signed Borowski, Keith Foulke and Roberto Hernandez in the offseason, hoping one would pan out.
After Foulke retired, Borowski was handed the job and ran with it. The 36-year-old journeyman became the first pitcher in history to lead the league in saves with an ERA over 5.00.
"I know it wasn't always pretty the way he got it done," Shapiro said. "But he got it done."
Borowski was confident the Indians would pick up his option. Now that he's had a year back in the AL, the 36-year-old, who spent 2006 with Florida, believes his numbers will improve next season.
"I had a couple outings that blew some of those [statistics] out of the water," he said. "I wish it was like golf and you could get a couple mulligans. I can get my ERA and [opponents] batting average lower. As long as my save total stays up there I'll be happy."
Fultz went 4-3 with a 2.92 ERA in 49 games. His role diminished when Rafael Perez came up from Triple-A Buffalo and became one of the league's dominant lefties. With Perez around, the 34-year-old Fultz could become a trade option this winter.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
MORE MLB HEADLINES
- Braves' Medlen leaves with strained forearm
- Dodgers' Kershaw, Ryu to start in Australia
- Cardinals sign star Cuban shortstop Diaz
- Reds hopeful Latos can return in first week
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING DRUGSThe sports world finds itself under siege by a series of investigations into the illegal distribution of performance-enhancing drugs. Steroids. Human growth hormone. West Coast. East Coast. Baseball. Football. Boxing. It's an epidemic.
• Players' union files grievance on Guillen's behalf
• Mitchell Report due next week
• Guillen, Gibbons suspended 15 days
• Chart: Players who have violated MLB policy
• Sources: HGH suspension in works for Guillen
November 2007October 2007
• Angels owner: Mitchell report will include names
• HBO to turn Bonds steroids book into movie
• BALCO figures fear leaks
• Personal trainer pleads guilty to distribution
• Union: 11 free agents sought in Mitchell talks
• China promises to bust doping industry
• Radomski's sentencing delayed until December
• Matthews Jr. discusses HGH allegations with MLB
• Report: Guillen, Williams bought steroids
• Top lawyer defends MLB testing procedures
• Report: Teams get advance notice of drug tests
• Indians' Byrd admits to using HGH
• NY raid nets $7.2 million in growth hormone
• Union: Mitchell didn't offer to share evidence
• Report: Mitchell gets papers from ex-Mets aide
• Sources: Mitchell's report to reveal many names
• MLB may suspend players who got banned drugs
• Source: Schoeneweis received steroids shipments
• DEA pulls off series of steroid raids
• ESPN The Magazine: China's open drug supply
• Ankiel meets with MLB officials on HGH report
• Report: MLB eyes use of HGH blood test in '08
• Gibbons meets with MLB officials
• Albany sits down with Mitchell Commission reps
• MLB considers adding fertility drugs to banned list
• MLB wants D.A.'s cooperation in pharmacy probe
• MLB requests meeting with Gibbons
• Report: Orioles' Gibbons received steroids, HGH
• Report: Pharmacy shipped steroids to Glaus
• Report: Ankiel linked to HGH | Gammons
• Olney blog: 1998 all over again?
• Harrison cooperated with prosecutors
• Harrison suspended for four games by NFL
• Report: Ex-MLB clubhouse man names names
• Fla. man pleads guilty to steroid sales conspiracy
• Judge denies request to release names in Grimsley case
• Report: Feds provided players names to Mitchell
• Feds: Mitchell got incomplete affidavit
• Ex-BALCO prosecutor says probe could end soon
• Sports leaders, feds discuss fight against steroids
• O's quiet as steroids speculation spins
• Mitchell seeks medical records
• Former doc guilty in prescription scam
From The Archives• The Dope On Steroids
• Mets did little to discourage steroid use
• E-Ticket: Who knew?
Analysis• Howard Bryant: Steroids, HGH and the pennant races
• Buster Olney: Blood test request on horizon
• Jayson Stark: Applying double standards
• Buster Olney: 1998 all over again?
• Rob Neyer: No big deal
• Ankiel timeline
• Peter Gammons: Stuff of legend
- Majestic Men's Replica Cleveland Indians Carlos Santana #41 Alternate Navy Jersey
- MLB Home
- AL East
- Baltimore Orioles
- Boston Red Sox
- New York Yankees
- Tampa Bay Rays
- Toronto Blue Jays
- AL Central
- Chicago White Sox
- Cleveland Indians
- Detroit Tigers
- Kansas City Royals
- Minnesota Twins
- AL West
- Houston Astros
- Los Angeles Angels
- Oakland Athletics
- Seattle Mariners
- Texas Rangers
- Fantasy: Sign up!
- Spring blog