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Thursday, February 14, 2008
Gary Bennett says he regrets taking HGH

Associated Press

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- While catcher Gary Bennett was willing to try just about anything to help his aching right knee heal, he knew using human growth hormone during the 2003 season was a mistake.

He did it anyway.

Bennett, implicated in the Mitchell Report on drugs in baseball, spoke openly about his experience Thursday and acknowledged his regrets.

"With it all coming out, it was very embarrassing," he said on the day pitchers and catchers reported to the Los Angeles Dodgers' training camp. "Going into it, I knew it was wrong. It was a situation in '03 that I was on the DL for 6½ weeks with a partially torn MCL in my right knee. It got to a point where I was extremely frustrated, my knee was hurting. That led me to make a stupid decision."

The Mitchell Report said Bennett, playing for San Diego at the time, bought two kits of HGH from former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski.

"The Mitchell Report was accurate," Bennett said. "It was two, three months worth of HGH. I don't remember the exact breakdown of how and when I took it. The biggest question I had was, `Did it help me?' I have no idea. I have no way of knowing whether it did or didn't help. It still hurt after that. It got better as the season went along.

"Was what I did wrong? Absolutely. Do I regret it? Absolutely."

Bennett said he couldn't comment on Roger Clemens and Wednesday's congressional hearing because he only saw a few sound bites and didn't know enough about what happened.

The Dodgers signed the 35-year-old catcher to a one-year, $875,000 contract with a club option for a second year as a backup to All-Star Russell Martin two months ago -- less than a week after the Mitchell Report was released.

Bennett, a backup to Yadier Molina with the St. Louis Cardinals the past two seasons, has a .242 lifetime batting average with 21 homers and 188 RBIs in a 12-year- career with Philadelphia, the New York Mets, Colorado, San Diego, Milwaukee, Washington and St. Louis.

Bennett knows he won't be playing much for the Dodgers, and he's OK with that.

"Do I want to play every day? Absolutely," he said. "That's not why I'm here. There's going to be roles for everybody. Our job is to give those guys breathers when they need them and give us a chance to win on those days."

Bennett played in 59 games for the Cardinals last season, hitting .252 with two homers and 17 RBIs.