ESPN analyst Vina says he used HGH in 2003, but never steroids

Updated: December 18, 2007, 1:26 PM ET
ESPN.com

This story has been corrected. Read below

ESPN baseball analyst and former major leaguer Fernando Vina said Monday he used HGH in 2003 to try and recover from injuries, but said he never bought steroids from former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, despite claims to the contrary in the Mitchell report released last week.

"In 2003, I did use HGH," Vina said in an interview with ESPN's Bob Ley.

The Mitchell report claims that Radomski "stated that he sold anabolic steroids or human growth hormone to Vina six to eight times during 2000 to 2005." The report says Radomski had three checks from Vina: one from March 2003 for HGH, one from April 2003 for steroids (most likely Winstrol) and July 2005 for Deca-Durabolin. Copies of the checks were included in the report.

Vina told ESPN he knew Radomski from his time with the Mets and tried HGH after injurying his knee and hamstring in 2003. He said there was pressure from his team (he was in St. Louis at the time), and pressure from himself to get back on the field.

"I tried everything rehabbing," he said of the 2003-04 time period. "I came to a point that I was desperate..."

Vina said he tried HGH to heal himself, not to build bulk. "For me, it was to try to get back on the field," he said. "That was the bottom line."

"Was it right? No. Obviously, it was wrong ... I'm embararssed by it," Vina said.

He also said the HGH didn't work, and he was out of baseball during the 2004 season. He played 29 games in '04 and 61 in '03 after playing more than 150 games the previous two seasons.

Vina said that 2003 was the only time he used HGH, disputing the claims in the Mitchell report of using steroids of HGH "six to eight times during 2000 to 2005."

"I never used steroids," he said. "I never bought steroids from him. All I used was HGH."

Vina said he was never directly contacted in the Mitchell investigation, though he heard things through his agent. He said he never talked to Mitchell.

Of the checks in the report, especially the one in 2005, Vina said: "I made a lot of checks to a lot of different people in the baseball cities," he said. "That's just the way things go."

He said he wrote Radomski, and others, checks for a number of things that weren't HGH related.

"Bottom line. It was stupid. I'm embarrassed now, and it didn't help, either," Vina said.

In a Dec. 17 ESPN.com story about Fernando Vina's admission of using HGH, there was an incorrect year given for when Vina said he used the performance enhancing substance. Vina only admitted to using HGH in 2003.