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06/07/09 7:39 AM ET

Wells passed on advice to use HGH

Former hurler credits surgery, improved diet for late success

During an injury-filled 2001 season, David Wells said he was given advice by his White Sox teammate, Jose Canseco: Use human growth hormone.

Wells, who was 38 at the time and appeared to be nearing the end of his career, passed on Canseco's suggestion.

Drug Policy in Baseball

"I didn't need to do that and I wasn't going to do that," Wells told the New York Daily News. "That stuff is not good for the game and it is not good for your body."

Rather than heed Canseco's advice, Wells said he had back surgery, cut beer out of his diet and took part in a rigorous offseason workout program that enabled him to drop 30 pounds by the time he arrived at Spring Training with the Yankees the next year. As his weight dropped, his production rose, and Wells jumped from five wins in 2001 to 19 wins in 2002.

"I quit drinking and I worked out religiously," Wells said. "That is the way I got into shape."

Wells, who is currently a broadcaster for Turner Sports, went on to play five more seasons before retiring in 2007 with 239 career wins. He's been an outspoken critic of those players who've been linked to performance enhancing drugs, including former teammate Roger Clemens, who is currently under a federal perjury investigation for allegedly lying to Congress about his PED use.

"I don't want to criticize him, but if you look at the facts, it doesn't look good for him," Wells said.

Wells believes that anyone who tests positive for a banned substance should receive a lifetime ban rather than the 50-game suspension currently given to first-time offenders.

"Did Pete Rose get a second chance?" Wells asked. "Did Shoeless Joe Jackson get a second chance?"

Ed Eagle is a reporter and editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.