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Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Report: Guillen, Williams bought steroids from Florida clinic

ESPN.com news services

Veteran outfielder Jose Guillen purchased thousands of dollars worth of steroids and human growth hormone from a Florida clinic under investigation for illegal drug sales, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.

Ismael Valdez

Valdez

Williams
Williams

Jose Guillen

Guillen

Citing business records, the Chronicle reported Guillen, who played for the Seattle Mariners last season, bought more than $19,000 worth of drugs from the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center between May 2002 and June 2005. Guillen had some of the shipments sent to the Oakland Coliseum during the 2003 season, after he was traded to the A's. The anti-aging clinic was raided in February as part of an investigation by the Albany County, N.Y., district attorney.

Major League Baseball began testing for steroids in 2003 and put growth hormone on its list of banned substances in January 2005.

The records, provided to the Chronicle by a confidential source, contained shipping and purchase orders, payment information, Social Security numbers and customers' birthdates, the newspaper said. The Chronicle also found that:

• Retired third baseman Matt Williams, a five-time All-Star who played 17 seasons in the majors, purchased $11,600 worth of HGH, steroids and other drugs from the Palm Beach clinic in 2002. Williams, the cornerstone of the San Francisco Giants' infield for a decade, was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks at the time. His last season was 2003; he is now a broadcaster for the Diamondbacks.

Reached by phone Monday, Williams told the Chronicle he used HGH on the advice of a doctor to treat an ankle injury he suffered during spring training in 2002.

"We obviously just learned of this," Diamondbacks team president Derrick Hall said in a statement Tuesday. "Matt informed us that a doctor recommended its use to help heal his ankle injury. It was a substance that he was not familiar with at the time, and according to him, did not like its effects after sampling. He discontinued the use of it and retired the next season.

"Matt is a stand-up guy, who without hesitation, admitted using it and not liking it. There is no doubt in our minds that Matt would decline such a recommendation today, knowing what we all know about enhancing substances."

• Right-hander Ismael Valdez, who spent parts of 12 seasons with seven teams and last pitched in the majors in 2005, purchased $11,300 worth of performance-enhancing drugs in 2002 following his trade from the Texas Rangers to Seattle.

Valdez's former agent didn't return messages left by the Chronicle.

The newspaper's examination of the Palm Beach clinic's records found that Guillen ordered three different types of HGH, two forms of testosterone and the steroids stanozolol and nandrolone between 2002 and 2005.

Guillen did not reply to requests for comment left with his agent and business manager.

Guillen, 31, batted .290 with 23 homers and 99 RBIs with the Mariners in 2007. He split the 2003 season between Cincinnati and Oakland, played for the Anaheim Angels in 2004 and Washington Nationals in 2005.

Last week, the Mariners declined their $9 million option on Guillen's contract for next season. He, in turn, declined his $5 million option, and will receive a $500,000 buyout. Guillen can now file for free agency.

Mariners president Chuck Armstrong told The Associated Press on Tuesday the team remains interested in keeping Guillen.

"We thought he was an outstanding teammate. We were happy to have him. We know nothing about what happened in the past," Armstrong said. "I continue to admire and respect him greatly.

"Before I feel anything negative about Jose, I need to see something tangible or real."

Armstrong also said if Guillen exercises his option, the Mariners would need to investigate the allegations.

"I for sure would have to talk to Jose about this," Armstrong said.

Some prescriptions for Guillen, Williams and Valdez were written by the same Florida dentist whose license was suspended in 2003 for fraud and incompetence. The dentist also reportedly prescribed HGH to Paul Byrd; citing an anonymous law enforcement source, the Chronicle reported in October that the Cleveland Indians pitcher bought nearly $25,000 worth of growth hormone and syringes between 2002 and 2005.

Byrd, who had his $7.5 million club option for 2008 picked up by the Indians on Tuesday, said he no longer is taking HGH.

Tuesday's report comes as all of Major League Baseball braces for the release of George Mitchell's report on steroids use in the game. Mitchell, a Boston Red Sox director and former Senate Majority Leader, was hired by commissioner Bud Selig in March 2006 and is expected to issue his report before the end of the year. The Yankees' Jason Giambi, who was pressured by commissioner Bud Selig, is the only active player known to have spoken with Mitchell.

Interviewed during the World Series, Selig first said he doubted he would see the report before it is made public, then suggested he might get it a few hours before others so he could "digest it."

Selig wouldn't speculate on possible discipline for players who may be implicated.

"I just don't want to comment because I don't know what's going to come out," he said.

The Palm Beach anti-aging clinic, as well as others plus online pharmacies in Florida and Alabama, have been targeted by the Albany County, N.Y., district attorney for illegal sales of drugs, including steroids and HGH. In addition to MLB players, the businesses' customer lists have contained the names of pro football players and wrestlers. No athletes have been indicted.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.