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Giambi, MLB Meet Over Drug Issues

Updated:
NEW YORK (AP) _ On the same day a report alleged he failed an amphetamines test, Jason Giambi met with lawyers from the baseball commissioner's office Wednesday to discuss his recent comments on steroids.

``The commissioner requested that Jason come in in response to the USA Today piece. Jason was interviewed this morning,'' union general counsel Michael Weiner said.

He was not interviewed about the amphetamine report, which appeared in the Daily News. The paper said he flunked the test within the last year.

Asked about the report at Yankee Stadium, Giambi said: ``I can't give you an accurate explanation.''

Asked about the meeting, he said, ``I hope it went smooth. It was definitely a willingness on both sides.''

Giambi said no followup session has been scheduled. The meeting, at baseball's main office, lasted less than an hour.

``It's more or less now wait and see,'' he said.

Yankees manager Joe Torre said ``we have no knowledge'' of a positive test.

General manager Brian Cashman said commissioner Bud Selig ``personally told me that he is going to be looking into this and investigating the situation, and for us to no-comment. And that's what we're doing.''

Cashman also said he wasn't trying to trade Giambi, who has a no-trade clause and $21 million in salary due this year as well as next year, the final guaranteed season in his contract.

``That's not something that's currently on my plate,'' Cashman said.

Yankees captain Derek Jeter said the reports weren't a distraction to Giambi or the team.

``I don't think he's concerned about it,'' Jeter said. ``If it doesn't bother Jason, I don't see why it should bother anybody.''

The meeting included Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president for labor relations, senior vice president Frank Coonelly and Howard Ganz, an outside lawyer.

Giambi brought along agent Arn Tellem, lawyer Brian O'Neill and Weiner, who represented the players' association.

Tellem and Manfred declined to discuss the meeting.

Management and players did not agree to ban steroids until late 2002. Testing with penalties did not begin until 2004 and penalties for a first offense didn't start until 2005.

An agreement was reached before the 2006 season to also ban amphetamines. An initial positive test subjects a player to counseling and up to six additional tests over the next year, and a second positive test leads to a 25-game suspension.

Gene Orza, the union's chief operating officer, said baseball officials could not confirm or deny the News report because they don't want the absence of a denial in any drug-testing case to be interpreted as a confirmation.

Names of players who test positive for amphetamines for the first time are not made public. The only other player linked to a positive amphetamine test has been Barry Bonds. When the Daily News reported in January that Bonds had tested positive, Bonds issued a statement that neither confirmed nor denied he did.

``I'm upset at the fact how we found out about Barry Bonds' positive test and now Jason's,'' Yankees center fielder Johnny Damon said. ``It doesn't seem like the guidelines of the drug testing (are) being done correctly when anybody can go around and leak something that we don't know if it's true or not and we're not supposed to know until they get in trouble for the second time.''

Giambi has been a figure in baseball's drug controversy for several years. He told a federal grand jury in 2003 that he used steroids during the 2001-2003 seasons and Human Growth Hormone in 2003, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in 2004.

Giambi made a general apology before spring training in 2005 but didn't specify what he was apologizing for. The New York Yankees' designated hitter then was quoted in USA Today last Friday as saying:

``I was wrong for doing that stuff. What we should have done a long time ago was stand up _ players, ownership, everybody _ and said: 'We made a mistake.' We should have apologized back then and made sure we had a rule in place and gone forward. ... Steroids and all of that was a part of history. But it was a topic that everybody wanted to avoid. Nobody wanted to talk about it.''

While it would be difficult for baseball to penalize Giambi for using steroids before the 2002 drug agreement, any admission of use in 2003 would be a gray area. Baseball had survey testing without penalties that year _ the union is fighting government efforts to link tests with names _ and any attempt to discipline players for that year likely would wind up before an arbitrator.

In his comments to USA Today, Giambi was quoted as saying: ``I'm probably tested more than anybody else. I'm not hiding anything.''
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