HOUSTON -- Houston Astros general manager Ed Wade said
Friday he expects Miguel Tejada to show up at spring training,
despite an FBI inquiry into whether the former AL MVP lied to
authorities about possible steroid use.
"Obviously, there are issues right now that have to be
addressed by others," Wade said during a stop on the Astros'
publicity tour. "Really, from a club standpoint, there's nothing
we can do to get involved at this stage, other than to remain
optimistic that things will work out and he'll be with us at spring
training and for the life of his contract, at the very least."
Houston's first full-squad workout is scheduled for Feb. 19.
Tejada, who's playing winter league ball in the Dominican
Republic, told ESPNdeportes.com's Enrique Rojas Friday that he's ready to focus on baseball.
"My mind and my heart are ready to play hard and take the Astros where the fans want them to be," Tejada said. "I hope to have their support [Astros fans]."
"Everyone knows me. The only thing I know is playing baseball and playing tough," he added.
The Astros acquired Tejada on Dec. 12 in a trade that sent five
players to Baltimore. The four-time All-Star shortstop, named the
AL MVP in 2002 with Oakland, has two years left on a six-year, $72
The day after the trade was announced, Tejada was named and
linked to steroid use in the Mitchell Report.
In August 2005, Tejada told House committee investigators that
he never used illegal performance-enhancing drugs or knew of other
players using or talking about steroids.
But the report said former Orioles teammate Adam Piatt claimed
that he gave steroids to Tejada in 2003, and the report includes
checks for $3,100 and $3,200 purportedly written by Tejada to
Wade said the Astros never knew before the trade that Tejada
would be mentioned in the report and had no suspicions that Tejada
was linked to steroids.
"We do our homework as best as we possibly can on any trade
that we make," Wade said. "We had no advance knowledge of what
was in the Mitchell Report. Any information contained in that was
news to us."
On Thursday, the FBI announced it had opened a preliminary
inquiry about Tejada. The inquiry, in response to a congressional
request, amounts to an initial look at facts surrounding the case.
"When they [the lawyers] tell me I can speak, I will speak,"
Tejada told ESPNdeportes.com, referring to responding to the accusations against him.
Wade said no federal authorities have contacted the Astros.
"We haven't had any involvement in this whatsoever," he said.
"We made a baseball trade at the winter meetings and at this
point, we're hopeful this will all resolve itself."
Tejada has not been charged with anything.
His older brother, Fredyy, was killed in a motorcycle accident
Tuesday, the day former Sen. George Mitchell, baseball commissioner
Bud Selig and players union representative Donald Fehr testified
before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to
discuss Mitchell's report.
Wade said the Astros sent Julio Linares, who oversees the team's
scouting in the Dominican Republic, to Tejada's home to offer
condolences after his brother was killed. Wade hasn't met Tejada,
but planned to fly to the country in the coming weeks.
"I know he's got a lot of different things running through his
mind right now," Wade said.
At the time, the trade seemed like a pivotal upgrade for the
Astros, who ranked 13th in the NL last year in runs scored (4.46
per game). Tejada batted .294 with 18 home runs and 81 RBIs for the
Orioles last season.
"We thought it was a smart baseball trade," Wade said. "We
think he's got a chance to really be a key component to our
ballclub. From the standpoint of our decision-making process, we
felt like it was the right decision to make and we still feel that
Wade would not get into the alternatives if Tejada is forced to
miss playing time to cooperate with federal authorities. The Astros
did not offer a new contract to Adam Everett, their regular
shortstop for the past five seasons, and he signed with Minnesota.
Mark Loretta played shortstop in 72 games last season, most of
them after Everett broke his leg. Houston has also acquired Kaz
Matsui and Geoff Blum, who can also play the position.
"I'm going to remain optimistic that this is an issue that will
resolve and we'll have the club on the field that we anticipate
having on the field when we made these trades," Wade said.
Information from The Associated Press and ESPNdeportes.com's Enrique Rojas was used in this report.