Guillen, Gibbons get 15-day suspensions; Ankiel, others not punished

Updated: December 7, 2007, 8:50 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jose Guillen and Jay Gibbons were suspended Thursday for the first 15 days of next season for violating baseball's drug policy. The penalties are an indication how the sport might treat players named in the Mitchell report, which could be released next week.

The pair were linked in media reports to the purchase of human growth hormone. Gary Matthews Jr., Rick Ankiel, Troy Glaus and Scott Schoeneweis also were linked to performance-enhancing drugs, but baseball decided there was "insufficient evidence'' to determine they committed a doping violation. They were accused of receiving the substances before 2005.

Guillen told ESPNdeportes.com's Enrique Rojas that his lawyers will appeal the sanction, but he will not comment further on the case. Guillen instructed the players' association to file a grievance, which would be decided by an arbitrator.

ESPN.com first reported that MLB and the players association were negotiating a 10- to 15-day suspension for Guillen on Wednesday.

Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell was hired by baseball commissioner Bud Selig in March 2006 to investigate drugs in baseball. Several media outlets, including ESPN, have been told it could be issued as soon as next Thursday.

Jay Gibbons

Gibbons

Jose Guillen

Guillen

Gibbons, who will not challenge his penalty, accepted responsibility and apologized.

"I am deeply sorry for the mistakes that I have made. I have no excuses and bare sole responsibility for my decisions," the Baltimore outfielder said. "Years ago, I relied on the advice of a doctor, filled a prescription, charged the HGH, which is a medication, to my credit card and had only intended to help speed my recovery from my injuries and surgeries."

Orioles President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail said he is glad Gibbons owned up to his actions.

"We completely support the Commissioner's program and his decision with regard to Jay Gibbons' suspension," MacPhail said. "Jay has acknowledged his mistake, and we appreciate his willingness to accept the consequences."

The 15-day penalties match what a second offense would have drawn under 2003-04 rules. Current rules call for a 50-game suspension for a first offense, a 100-game penalty for a second and a lifetime ban for a third.

"Other open investigations should be completed shortly," MLB said in a statement.

The six players whose cases were resolved Thursday met with baseball officials after media reports of their names surfaced in a national drug investigation by the district attorney in Albany, N.Y.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore said the club will support Guillen, who earlier Thursday finalized a $36 million, three-year contract with Kansas City.

"We signed Jose knowing that was a possibility," Moore said Thursday. "While my initial reaction is one of disappointment, I am thoroughly convinced that Jose will put this behind him."

The San Francisco Chronicle reported last month that Guillen bought nearly $20,000 worth of steroids and human growth hormone from 2003 through 2005.

Citing business records, the Chronicle reported Guillen bought more than $19,000 worth of drugs from the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center between May 2002 and June 2005. He played for five teams during that span: the Diamondbacks, Reds, Athletics, Angels and Nationals.

According to the Chronicle report, some prescriptions for Guillen were written by the same Florida dentist whose license was suspended in 2003 for fraud and incompetence. The dentist also reportedly prescribed HGH to Cleveland Indians pitcher Paul Byrd.

The Chronicle said Byrd made 13 purchases of HGH between August 2002 and January 2005.

Guillen reportedly had some of the shipments sent to the Oakland Coliseum during the 2003 season, after he was traded to the A's. The anti-aging clinic was raided in February as part of an investigation by the Albany County, N.Y., district attorney.

Gibbons got six shipments of Genotropin (a brand name for synthetic human growth hormone), two shipments of testosterone and two shipments of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) between October 2003 and July 2005, SI.com said on Sept. 9, citing a source in Florida with knowledge of a Signature Pharmacy client list.

The pharmacy is under investigation for illegally distributing prescription medications.

The substances were obtained through South Beach Rejuvenation Center/Modern Therapy, a Miami Beach clinic, and sent through Signature, SI.com said.

Ankiel met with baseball lawyers Sept. 11 following a report by the New York Daily News that he received eight shipments of prescription HGH in 2004, before it was banned by baseball.

"We're obviously pleased," said Scott Boras, the agent for Ankiel and Schoeneweis. "As we had said before with each of these players, they had not violated any baseball rule or any state or federal law."

Glaus received shipments at a Corona, Calif., address that traces to the player, SI.com said, citing a source in Florida with knowledge of a Signature Pharmacy client list. SI.com said its information dealt only with receipt of steroids and not use.

Schoeneweis, the veteran New York Mets reliever and a survivor of testicular cancer, received six steroid shipments from Signature Pharmacy while playing for the Chicago White Sox in 2003 and 2004, ESPN reported.

Matthews was sent HGH in 2004 from a pharmacy being investigated for illegal distribution of performance-enhancing drugs, The Times Union of Albany, N.Y., reported last winter.

Matthews denied using HGH, which was not banned by baseball for players with major league contracts until 2005. His agent, Scott Leventhal, declined comment.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.