More players verify findings in Report
Herges, Hill the latest to confirm use of performance-enhancers
Matt Herges and Glenallen Hill on Wednesday became the latest in a list of current and former Major League Baseball players who were named in the Mitchell Report and have since admitted their use of performance-enhancing drugs.That group now includes Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, Dodgers catcher Gary Bennett, and ex-players Chuck Knoblauch, Fernando Vina and F.P. Santangelo.
Like Roger Clemens, Jack Cust, the A's designated hitter, former Braves and Yankees star David Justice, and Miguel Tejada, now of the Astros, have denied that they ever used steroids, although their names appear among the 89 in the Report.Jason and Jeremy Giambi, Jason Grimsley, Rick Ankiel, Jay Gibbons and Jose Guillen all admitted their culpability before the Report was issued this past Dec. 13. Gibbons and Guillen have been suspended by MLB for 15 days at the start of regular season, although Guillen's suspension is being grieved by the Players Association. Herges, now a reliever for the Rockies, and Hill, their first-base coach, are among the significant group of players whose careers moved through the San Francisco Giants clubhouse and were named in the Report. Both released statements on Thursday as Clemens and Brian McNamee, Clemens' former personal trainer, were being questioned by members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Capitol Hill. "Several years ago I made a poor decision rather than trusting in the abilities the Lord has blessed me with," Herges said. "With great insecurity I chose to cross the line and briefly use performance-enhancing substances. I have no excuse for my actions." Hill was remorseful as well. "Late in my playing career, I made mistakes and poor decisions in my personal and professional life," he said. "I, and I alone am accountable for them. Simply put, I was not as candid as I should have been regarding my use of performance-enhancing substances late in my playing career." Bennett was still a free agent when former Senator George Mitchell released his long-awaited Report. Bennett, who played for the Cardinals this past season, called his use of human growth hormone on a singular occasion "a stupid decision" two days after the Report came out.
"It was a mistake. It was something that quite obviously, you regret now," he added.The Dodgers signed him on Dec. 17, two days later. Pettitte corroborated McNamee's assertions that he had been at least twice injected with HGH on Dec. 16, saying that, "If what I did was an error in judgment on my part, I apologize." Pettitte later reiterated the same assessment in a deposition taken by the House Committee. Knoblauch also admitted his own use for the first time in his recorded interview before Committee attorneys. Santangelo, another player whose career ran through the San Francisco clubhouse, and now works as a commentator on Sacramento's KHTK Radio, had to face the music of his own listening audience on Dec. 14 -- the day after the Report came out. Santangelo, who had been hyper-critical on the air about players using performance-enhancing drugs, was fingered for using HGH. He was bombarded by callers who called him a liar and said he should resign. "I don't want to be this out-front crusader guy," Santangelo said. "I did something absolutely wrong. I shouldn't be made a hero. I made a bad decision against everything I believe." The station backed him and he's still on the air. Vina, an ESPN analyst and middle infielder for five teams, said on Dec. 18 that he had used HGH in 2003 when he was with the Cardinals and trying to recover from knee and hamstring injuries. The Mitchell Report stipulates that Vina purchased HGH and steroids six to eight times from 2000 to 2005. Vina denied, though, that he ever used steroids. "I tried everything rehabbing," he said. "I came to a point that I was desperate. For me, it was to try to get back on the field. That was the bottom line. Was it right? No. Obviously, it was wrong. I'm embarrassed by it." Roberts issued a lengthy formal statement of apology on Dec. 18, saying that he had used HGH only once, corroborating the information in the Report. "In 2003, when I took one shot of steroids, I immediately realized that this was not what I stood for or anything that I wanted to continue doing," he said. "I never used steroids, human growth hormone or any other performance-enhancing drugs prior to or since that single incident. I am very sorry and I deeply regret ever making that terrible decision. My only hope and prayer is that the Orioles, my family, friends and fans that have supported me so faithfully will forgive me."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.