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And I'm Robert Siegel.
The ongoing story of doping in Major League Baseball is now focused on a relief pitcher. 38-year-old Jason Grimsley, a veteran right hander who has played for seven different teams, was released today by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Grimsley's release follows news that he is under investigation for allegedly using banned substances. Yesterday in Scottsdale, Arizona, federal agents searched Grimsley's house for several hours. Authorities will not say what was found.
NPR's Tom Goldman has more.
TOM GOLDMAN reporting:
In its April 3 issue, Sports Illustrated magazine proclaimed Major League Baseball was in the waning days of the so-called steroid era. According to an affidavit 16 days after that magazine hit the stands, Jason Grimsley received a package of illegal human growth hormone in the mail.
Indeed the 23-page affidavit indicates doping in baseball is not quite a thing of the past. The affidavit was filed by investigators who've been working on the well known Balco doping scandal. The affidavit includes excerpts of an interview with Grimsley, who initially cooperated with agents after they came to his house the day he received the growth hormone. According to the affidavit, here's some of what Grimsley said.
Since his major league career began back in 1989, he bought and used illegal substances including anabolic steroids, amphetamines, human growth hormone. During baseball's initial steroid testing program in 2003, he tested positive. He says until last year, when amphetamines were banned, major league clubhouses had coffee pots labeled leaded and unleaded, referring to coffee with or without amphetamines.
Grimsley talks about other players who used drugs and some he suspected of using. In the affidavit, all the players' names are blacked out. Grimsley says when baseball started testing for steroids and amphetamines, the only drug he used was human growth hormone. Critics say this exposes a glaring weakness in baseball's new tougher drug policy. How players who use drugs have turned with relative ease to growth hormone.
Dr. GARY WADLER (American College of Sports Medicine): Surprise, surprise.
GOLDMAN: Anti-doping expert Dr. Gary Wadler has been critical of what he calls baseball's unwillingness to test for growth hormone. Wadler says a growth hormone test does exist. It was used on athletes in the last two Olympic Games. But it's a blood test and baseball only tests players' urine.
Dr. WADLER: The message there is the only way you can get caught is in the act of shooting it up or possession or the kind of thing that came up with Grimsley.
GOLDMAN: A spokesman for Major League Baseball says baseball would consider using a reliable blood test for growth hormone, but it would be tough getting that past the union, which doesn't want players to have their blood drawn. Earlier this year, union head Donald Fehr was quoted as saying he'll continue to oppose growth hormone testing until there's a universally accepted urine test.
Dr. Wadler says such a test will be extremely difficult since when someone takes growth hormone, only tiny amounts show up in the urine. Meanwhile a statement released by authorities overseeing the Jason Grimsley investigation says, we will continue to diligently follow the evidence. Clearly we're not done.
Tom Goldman, NPR News.
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