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Pettitte admits using HGH to recover from an elbow injury in 2002

12/16/2007 - MLB Andy Pettitte New York Yankees + more

NEW YORK -- Andy Pettitte used human growth hormone to
recover from an elbow injury in 2002, the New York Yankees pitcher
admitted two days after he was cited in the Mitchell report.

Pettitte said he tried HGH on two occasions, stressing he did it
to heal faster and not enhance his performance. He emphasized he
never used steroids.

"If what I did was an error in judgment on my part, I
apologize," Pettitte said Saturday in a statement released by his
agent. "I accept responsibility for those two days."

On Thursday, Pettitte was among 85 players named by former
Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell's investigation into
steroids and performance-enhancing drugs. Pettitte had not
commented publicly on the allegations.

Pettitte asked the trainer he shared with Roger Clemens, Brian
McNamee, to help him with HGH while on the disabled list early in
the season, the report said. McNamee recalled injecting Pettitte
two to four times, Mitchell said.

HGH wasn't banned by baseball until January 2005.

"In 2002 I was injured. I had heard that human growth hormone
could promote faster healing for my elbow," Pettitte said in the
statement released to The Associated Press by agent Randy
Hendricks.

"I felt an obligation to get back to my team as soon as
possible. For this reason, and only this reason, for two days I
tried human growth hormone. Though it was not against baseball
rules, I was not comfortable with what I was doing, so I stopped.

"This is it -- two days out of my life; two days out of my
entire career, when I was injured and on the disabled list," he
said. "I wasn't looking for an edge. I was looking to heal."

Pettitte was not linked to steroids in the report, and said he
never had never used them.

"I have the utmost respect for baseball and have always tried
to live my life in a way that would be honorable," he said. "If I
have let down people that care about me, I am sorry, but I hope
that you will listen to me carefully and understand that two days
of perhaps bad judgment should not ruin a lifetime of hard work and
dedication.

"I have tried to do things the right way my entire life, and,
again, ask that you put those two days in the proper context.
People that know me will know that what I say is true," he said.

The Yankees backed Pettitte.

"Late this afternoon, Andy Pettitte advised us that he would be
making a public statement. We support his coming forward," the
team said in a statement.

The 35-year-old lefty is 201-113 lifetime. He started his major
league career in 1995 and won four World Series championships with
the Yankees. He pitched for his hometown Houston Astros from
2004-06 and helped them reach their first World Series.

Pettitte returned to the Yankees last season and went 15-9. This
month, he put off retirement and agreed to a $16 million, one-year
contract to play for the Yankees next season.

Mitchell devoted 1 1/2 pages to McNamee's testimony about Pettitte.
Clemens was mentioned on nearly nine pages, with McNamee saying he
injected the star pitcher.

Clemens was accused of using steroids and HGH and, through his
lawyer, vehemently denied the accusations.

When Clemens joined the Yankees in 1999, he and Pettitte became
fast friends and training partners. McNamee was part of their
regimen -- Clemens had worked with him in Toronto before being
traded to New York.

According to the Mitchell report, Pettitte asked McNamee about
using HGH after the 2001 season, and the trainer said he
discouraged the pitcher from trying it.