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Leyland, DuPuy talk about Ortiz

8/9/2009 - MLB Detroit Tigers

NEW YORK -- Baseball's No. 2 official takes David Ortiz at
his word that over-the-counter supplements and vitamins likely
caused him to wind up on a list of alleged drug users.

"I'm not in a position to believe or disbelieve. I accept what
he says," Bob DuPuy, baseball's president and chief operating
officer, said Sunday.

Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland also backed Ortiz.

"I could care less what anybody else thinks," Leyland said.
"If David Ortiz said he didn't knowingly take anything, I believe
him."

Ortiz said at a news conference Saturday that he never knowingly
used steroids. Two senior executives from Major League Baseball
attended his news conference at Yankee Stadium, a sign of
management support.

The New York Times reported last month that Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were on the federal list and said in June that Sammy Sosa
was on it. In February, Sports Illustrated reported Alex Rodriguez
was on the list, and Rodriguez later admitted using Primobolan from
2001-03.

Batting .171 (6 for 35) with two homers and six RBIs since the July 30 report, Ortiz was not in the starting lineup for Sunday night's series finale against the Yankees. With the crowd chanting "Steroids!" he pinch hit in the ninth inning and walked as New York won 5-2 to complete a four-game sweep.

"I think he's exhausted mentally and physically," Red Sox
manager Terry Francona said.

Samples and records from baseball's anonymous survey in 2003
were seized by the federal government the following year from
drug-testing companies as part of the Bay Area Laboratory
Co-Operative investigation into Barry Bonds and others. The list of
104 players said to have tested positive, attached to a grand jury
subpoena, has been the subject of a five-year legal fight, with the
union trying to force the government to return the material taken
during raids.

While Hall of Famer Hank Aaron last week called for the entire
list to be released, DuPuy backed the position of union general
counsel Michael Weiner, who said it should remain confidential.

"I understand anyone's frustration. I've seen not just Hank
Aaron, but Mark Teixeira I think made the statement, and maybe
Vernon Wells," DuPuy said. "I've seen three or four people in the
last week say we ought to just have the results out there and be
done with it.

"First of all, we don't have the list, so that's not something
that's within our control. Second, the list was supposed to be
confidential. Third, you have the whole issue of significant lag of
time now -- six years. And fourth, there are 90 names or 95 names
that have not been leaked that were promised confidentiality and
expected confidentiality and deserve confidentiality. So I think
it's a complicated scenario but one we don't have any control over
since we don't have the list."

Like the players' union, the commissioner's office is angry
about names becoming public. The list is under court seal, and the
case is before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. It may end up
being decided by the Supreme Court.

MLB says at most 96 urine samples tested positive in the 2003
survey, and the union disputes 13 of those.

"We are continuing to be frustrated there are individuals that
feel breaking the law for whatever reason they do it, do it
maliciously and clearly in violation of standing court orders,"
DuPuy said. "People should be careful before they toss allegations
around based on information that may or may not be accurate."

Leyland predicted another player will be identified in a month.

"I know the media has to report information," Leyland said.
"I'm not blaming the media, but they're not going to let it alone.
I'm not blaming anybody because it's news and that's what you
people do for a living."

Leyland usually sidesteps conversations about steroids, but on Sunday said that while he does not condone the use of performance-enhancing drugs he suggested that most fans don't care about the issue.

"The people who care about it probably don't like baseball," Leyland said.

In any case, Leyland is "sick and tired" of the ongoing saga.

"We've made mistakes, there have been some guys who admitted it so you know it was there," he said. "How many people? I have no idea."