Wells swings against PED users
Former Yanks hurler weighs in on Clemens, Rodriguez
NEW YORK -- Former big leaguer David Wells came out swinging Sunday against those who have used performance-enhancing drugs, counting the achievements of former teammate Roger Clemens and current Yankee Alex Rodriguez among those that should be suspect.
Speaking on the 11th anniversary of his perfect game at Yankee Stadium, Wells said Sunday that Major League Baseball should give harsher penalties than the 50-game suspension that the Dodgers' Manny Ramirez recently received, and even floated the idea of a lifetime ban for a first offense.
"Just ban them right out of the get-go; I think that would be great," Wells said. "No 50-game suspension. Ban them right away, that would stop it in a heartbeat -- especially with the money they are giving out today. It would be incredible if they did that. You wouldn't have to worry about steroids or HGH."
Rodriguez has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during three seasons of his career with the Texas Rangers. Clemens has sworn under oath to Congress that he has never used PEDs and maintains that stance to this day.
Wells was at Yankee Stadium working his second game as a color commentator for TBS, calling the action with Chip Caray and Ron Darling as the Yankees played the Twins -- just as they did on May 17, 1998, when Wells retired 27 straight Minnesota batters to throw baseball's 15th perfect game.
On the topic of Rodriguez, Wells said that the home runs that A-Rod hit during the years he admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs -- from 2001-03 -- should not count. Rodriguez hit 156 homers over that span, but Wells was speaking specifically about the three he served up to Rodriguez.
"He claimed he was on the juice so, no, they shouldn't count," Wells said. "I had a high enough ERA anyway. You can't do anything about it. I guess it really wasn't an issue back then."
Wells said that players who have tested positive or admitted to steroid use should not be admitted to the Hall of Fame, regardless of their career statistics. Wells said that while he feels for Clemens, he believes the mounting evidence makes it appear that the seven-time Cy Young Award winner did use performance-enhancing drugs.
"He's denying, and there are cases out there that are pretty strong against him," Wells said. "Until it all comes out, I don't want to be quick to judge, but he's in a mess, really is. When you got Congress and the Feds and everybody down your back, it's crazy."
Wells said he last saw Clemens at a Toby Keith charity golf event in Oklahoma, greeting him with the old Yankees clubhouse nickname of "Eli." He grinned when asked about the reversal in their stances -- during their playing days, Clemens was lauded for his intense workouts while Wells rarely performed more physical conditioning than running and what he called "12-ounce curls."
"For years, he called me 'Eli,'" Wells said. "You know, whatever comes out of Boomer's mouth, 'He lies.' Well, I got payback. Actually, it was great. ... And Roger didn't like it very much, but he came over and said hello.
"You don't want to criticize too quick, but the facts they have in hand, I don't think it looks good for him. You hope, because of what he did for the game of baseball -- it was pretty overwhelming, but was it clean or was it dirty?"
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.