Top prosecutor cites "inaccuracies" in steroids story

Tuesday, October 3rd 2006, 6:31 am
By: News On 6

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ The federal prosecutor overseeing an investigation of steroids in baseball says a newspaper report indicating that five players, including Roger Clemens, had used illegal performance-enhancing drugs contained ``significant inaccuracies.''

Citing sealed court filings, the Los Angeles Times reported that former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Jason Grimsley had named Clemens, his Houston Astros teammate Andy Pettitte, and Baltimore Orioles Miguel Tejada, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons. The story first appeared on the Times' Web site on Saturday and was quickly seized on by print and broadcast media outlets.

San Francisco U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan issued a statement Monday, saying: ``In view of the recent news reports purporting to identify certain athletes whose names had been redacted from the government's search warrant filings in the Grimsley matter, and in the interests of justice, please be advised that these reports contain significant inaccuracies.''

A spokesman for Ryan declined to elaborate.

A spokesman for the Times had no immediate comment. The newspaper reported that an unidentified source with access to the document allowed the newspaper to view it, and a second source provided additional details about the document.

Federal agents raided Grimsley's Arizona home in June after the pitcher admitted using human growth hormone, steroids and amphetamines. The pitcher later was released by the Diamondbacks.

In a search warrant affidavit, IRS Special Agent Jeff Novitzky said Grimsley had identified the other players as drug users. Those names were blacked out when the document was originally released.

All five players immediately denounced the story, with Clemens calling it ``dangerous and malicious and reckless.''

``As I have said all along, and as Andy and Roger said quite clearly yesterday, they have never used performance-enhancing drugs,'' Randy Hendricks, the agent for Pettitte and Clemens, said Monday.

He added that Clemens ``signed up to play for his country in the World Baseball Classic this year and submitted to Olympic standard testing, including blood work, and then went out and had another good year for the Astros.''

Grimsley played with Clemens and Pettitte on the New York Yankees, and is now out of baseball. The reliever has admitted using a variety of banned substances and was suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball.

Grimsley's attorney Ed Novak said Monday that his client told the federal agents that ``he had no knowledge of Clemens and Pettitte using any illegal drugs and told them that never in a million years would either of them use.''

Novak also told The Arizona Republic that the agents, not Grimsley, brought up Clemens and Pettitte and that recent published reports were incorrect claiming Grimsley also identified former Orioles teammates Roberts and Gibbons as players who took anabolic steroids.