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Friday, June 9, 2006
Ex-Yankee Leyritz admits to using amphetamines

ESPN.com news services

While baseball's latest focus in its fight against ridding the sport of performance-enhancing drugs is on human growth hormone, it's another banned drug that a former Yankee fan favorite has confessed to using.

Leyritz speaks out
Jim Leyritz talks about using amphetamines and HGH on ESPN Radio's Dan Patrick Show. Leyritz admits to taking HGH, but says he never took steroids because of a family history of prostate cancer. PodcastInsider

"I can remember my first amphetamine," Jim Leyritz said during an interview Thursday on XM Satellite Radio. "I was out all night drinking with Andy Hawkins and some of the guys on the team. I was a young player."

Leyritz, who broke into the big leagues in 1990 with the Yankees, played 11 seasons in the majors with six different teams.

"I came in. I was hung over, sleeping by my locker. And all of a sudden, [Don] Mattingly came to me and said, 'Hey, you're in the lineup.' And I went, 'What?' He goes, 'Yeah, I just hurt my back.'

"Now I'm walking around, I'm going, 'I don't know how I'm going to do this. There's no way that I can go play this game today.' I ran into my teammate who I knew had some of the 'little helpers,' as they called them.

"He said, 'Take one of these. It should help. It'll take the edge off.'

"So sure enough, I took one. He goes, 'OK, you can take two, but no more than two.' So I popped one more, and I went out and went 3-for-4 with two homers."

According to retrosheet.org, Leyritz is referencing a Saturday, June 30 game in 1990 against the White Sox, where he went 3-for-5 with two homers and four RBI.

His recollection of the day isn't perfect spot-on, however, as Mattingly played first base and Leyritz manned third.

Jim Leyritz
Leyritz is best-known for his three-run homer off Mark Wohlers in Game 4 of the 1996 World Series.

This admission comes in the wake of an investigation of pitcher Jason Grimsley, where Grimsley told federal agents that he used illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

According to court documents, Grimsley failed a league drug test in 2003. Authorities said when he was cooperating, he admitted to using human growth hormone, amphetamines and steroids.

He added that amphetamine use was prevalent in pro baseball, and that it was placed in coffee in clubhouses -- marked "leaded" or "unleaded" to indicate which pots contained the drugs, according to court documents.

During the offseason, owners and players agreed to increase the penalties for performance-enhancing drugs to 50 games for a first offense, 100 games for a second and a lifetime ban for a third.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.