Arroyo admits risk on supplements

Updated: August 14, 2009, 11:57 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo, who last month admitted to using a now-banned supplement earlier in his career, says he uses a number of over-the-counter supplements not on Major League Baseball's approved list, according to a USA Today report.

"I have a lot of guys in [the locker room] who think I'm out of [my] mind because I'm taking a lot of things not on the [MLB-approved] list," Arroyo said, according to the report. "I take 10 to 12 different things a day, and on the days I pitch, there's four more things. There's a caffeine drink I take from a company that [former Boston Red Sox teammate] Curt Schilling introduced me to in '05. I take some Korean ginseng and a few other proteins out there that are not certified. But I haven't failed any tests, so I figured I'm good."

The Players Association and the commissioner's office have a certification program for supplements and have advised players to stick to the list, lest they risk suspension and potentially millions of dollars. Arroyo has heard the warnings, but they haven't changed his mind, according to the report.

I can see where guys like Hank Aaron and some of the old-timers have a beef with it. But as far as looking at Manny Ramirez like he's [serial killer] Ted Bundy, you're out of your mind. At the end of the day, you think anybody really [cares] whether Manny Ramirez's kidneys fail and he dies at 50?

-- Bronson Arroyo

"I do what I want to do and say what I want to say," Arroyo said, according to the report. "But society has made this such a tainted thing. The media has made it where people look at it in such a super-negative light. I've always been honest. I'm not going to stop now."

Arroyo, who is 10-11 with a 5.04 ERA, is slated to start against the Washington Nationals on Thursday night in Cincinnati.

Last month, after The New York Times reported Arroyo's former Red Sox teammates David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were on a list of players allegedly testing positive for now-banned substances in 2003, Arroyo told the Boston Herald that he had used androstenedione and amphetamines before they were banned in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

Arroyo says he believes he is also on the 2003 list, as there were rumors at the time that andro taken by some ballplayers was tainted with steroids. He said he took andro anyway because it helped him gain weight and strength, according to USA Today.

"Man, I didn't think twice about it," he said, according to the report. "I took androstenedione the same way I took my multivitamins. I didn't really know if this was a genius move by Mark McGwire to cover up the real [stuff] he was taking, but it made me feel unbelievable. I felt like a monster."

Arroyo said he started taking amphetamines in 1998 when he was in the minors -- and he'd still be taking them if they were not banned.

"That stuff's like bubble gum compared to steroids," he said, according to the report. "You're playing [night games] in L.A., you fly across the country, and you're pitching a day game at Wrigley [Field in Chicago]. You telling me you don't want something to wake you up? You have half this country, maybe more, that can't function without a cup of coffee."

According to the report, Arroyo said fans and the media seem more concerned with the sanctity of the game's records than whether the substances will hurt players later on.

"I can see where guys like Hank Aaron and some of the old-timers have a beef with it," Arroyo said, according to the report. "But as far as looking at Manny Ramirez like he's [serial killer] Ted Bundy, you're out of your mind. At the end of the day, you think anybody really [cares] whether Manny Ramirez's kidneys fail and he dies at 50?

"You were happy if the Red Sox won 95 games. You'd go home, have a cookout with your family. No big deal," he said, according to the report.

As for the potential health risks? "It might be dangerous," he said, according to the report, "but so is drinking and driving. And how many of us do it at least once a year? Pretty much everybody."

Arroyo, according to the report, also said the game's owners care about winning and making money -- and not necessarily in that order.

"If Mark McGwire is hitting 60 homers, the only thing that matters is his performance," Arroyo said, according to USA Today. "People don't own teams to lose money. If you ask any owner whether they would rather make $20 million and come in last place or lose $20 million and win a World Series, there's only one guy who honestly would take that championship: George Steinbrenner. Nobody else."

On Thursday, the day Arroyo's comments were published, MLB vice president Rich Levin said the commissioner's office planned to schedule a meeting with Arroyo to make him aware of the baseball-approved supplements that are available, USA Today reported. Baseball does not plan to discipline Arroyo, he said.

"We just want to chat with him," Levin said, according to the report, "just to make him aware of the [MLB-licensed] supplements out there."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE