Senate Probes Steroid Use in Baseball

Tuesday, June 11th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Congress is going to look into steroid use in baseball, following the recent disclosure that two former most valuable players used the muscle-building drugs.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said Monday he plans to hold a hearing that also will look at steroid use in the Olympics and among college athletes. Dorgan is chairman of the consumer affairs, foreign commerce and tourism subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee.

``Everybody knows how damaging use of these steroids are to athletes' health,'' Dorgan said. ``We've got an issue to face as a country, not just among baseball players, but also with college sports and our Olympic athletes.''

No date has been set for the hearing. Dorgan said he plans to invite baseball executives, players and union representatives.

Lucy Calautti, a Washington-based baseball lobbyist who once served as Dorgan's chief of staff, and Greg Bouris, spokesman for the Major League Baseball Players Association, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Steroids have become a major topic in baseball since former MVPs Ken Caminiti and Jose Canseco admitted using the drugs. Caminiti retired last year; Canseco ended his 17-year career this spring.

It's unclear how many current players take steroids. Canseco told The Wall Street Journal up to 85 percent took the drugs when he played, though current players such as Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine say that estimate is far too high.

The NFL and NBA prohibit steroids and test for them, but major league baseball does not. Baseball owners would like to add steroid testing into the new collective bargaining agreement.

Minor league baseball players who test positive for steroid use can be banned.