07/23/09 2:17 PM ET
Parque admits to using HGH
Former White Sox pitcher injected self with drug in late 2002
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
Parque, who pitched for the Chicago White Sox from 1998-2002, and for Tampa Bay in 2003, said he was not paid for the story and is not "looking to benefit from it," but wrote it to express that he made decisions that he is "not proud of, decisions that haunt me to this day, but decisions you might have made if presented with the same circumstances and pressures."
Parque, a left-hander, wrote that he blew out the labrum in his throwing shoulder in Game 1 of the 2000 American League Championship Series while starting for the White Sox against the Mariners, and after a few years trying to make it back via rehabilitation and surgery -- never regaining the velocity on his pitches -- he said administered HGH to himself in late 2002, after he was let go by the White Sox.
Parque signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent in January 2003.
"What was I going to do?" Parque wrote. "I had no job skills, no experience in the real world. I had given this game everything I had, and it was all I knew. The competition, being a part of something bigger than myself -- I wasn't willing to give up those things.
"With my career in jeopardy, I turned to performance-enhancing drugs, like some other players did. I never had needed them before, but with a shoulder that wouldn't heal, it was realistically the only thing I could turn to. HGH was not banned by Major League Baseball when I ordered it. It was controversial and unethical, but it was not banned. When the HGH arrived, it was unmarked -- just some needles and vials.
"I was uncomfortable, but I injected the substance about six times. It immediately made me sleep deeper. My skin became baby-soft, and I could feel my workouts improving. It never gave me more strength or bulked me up, but it provided quicker recoveries. I began to throw harder because my shoulder felt no pain. I was able to withstand more throwing, creating a work environment that I had not experienced in two years."
Parque, who pitched in only five games in 2003, going 1-1 with an 11.94 ERA, said he stopped using HGH soon after because he realized "that my priorities were not focused on my family," which includes a wife and two daughters.
"The euphoric feelings that HGH provided were false and clouded my ability to think clearly," Parque wrote. "I also felt I was risking long-term health issues that could jeopardize my family. I am proud of the fact that I put my family first during this time, but I made the wrong decisions from the start as a baseball player.
"Kids should learn from my poor and unethical decisions, as everything steamrolls downhill when one enters into the world of drugs."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.