Orioles issue statement in response to Mitchell Report

Updated: December 16, 2007, 1:25 AM ET
Associated Press

BALTIMORE --The Baltimore Orioles, one of the clubs hit hardest by the Mitchell report, issued a statement Saturday night calling for tougher drug testing but asking the public not to judge players based on "unsubstantiated allegations."

Nineteen current or former Orioles were named in the report as having used illegal performance-enhancing drugs, including All-Stars Miguel Tejada and Brian Roberts.

Tejada was traded to the Houston Astros on Wednesday, the day before the report was released. Roberts remains with the Orioles.

Another current Oriole, Jay Gibbons, was suspended for the first 15 days of the 2008 season after it was determined he received human growth hormone after January 2005, when it was banned by baseball. Gibbons accepted responsibility and apologized.

Former teammate Larry Bigbie told investigators that Roberts admitted to him in 2004 "that he had injected himself once or twice with steroids in 2003." Bigbie also admitted using steroids.

"The Orioles caution observers to resist the temptation to accept collective judgments based on unsubstantiated allegations," the statement read. "The Orioles further believe that each Major League player must be treated on an individual basis, must not be judged responsible by mere association, and is innocent of any improper conduct until proven otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt."

Steroid suspicion has long plagued the Orioles. Rafael Palmeiro was suspended from the club in August 2005 after a positive steroid test. He has suggested he may have received a tainted shot of Vitamin B12 from Tejada.

The Mitchell report painted a disturbing picture of the Baltimore clubhouse at the time. Bigbie told investigators that he saw Tejada injecting himself with B12 in the restroom.

"The presence of syringes in a major league clubhouse, by itself, should have been a cause of significant concern," the report said.

Other former Orioles named in the report were: David Segui, Jerry Hairston Jr., Jason Grimsley, Jack Cust, Tim Laker, Gregg Zaun, Kevin Brown, Howie Clark, Todd Williams, Manny Alexander, Kent Mercker, Gary Matthews Jr., Ricky Bones and Darren Holmes.

"The Orioles support Major League Baseball's efforts to institute the most comprehensive testing program of any professional sport and one that strives to eliminate the use of performance enhancing drugs from all of baseball," the statement read.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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