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Sunday, August 9, 2009
Leyland, DuPuy talk about Ortiz

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Baseball's No. 2 official takes David Ortiz at his word that over-the-counter supplements and vitamins likely caused him to wind up on a list of alleged drug users.

"I'm not in a position to believe or disbelieve. I accept what he says," Bob DuPuy, baseball's president and chief operating officer, said Sunday.

Jim Leyland
Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland said the hunt for more names on the 2003 list is 'becoming like the nosy neighbor.'

Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland also backed Ortiz.

"I could care less what anybody else thinks," Leyland said. "If David Ortiz said he didn't knowingly take anything, I believe him."

Ortiz said at a news conference Saturday that he never knowingly used steroids. Two senior executives from Major League Baseball attended his news conference at Yankee Stadium, a sign of management support.

The New York Times reported last month that Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were on the federal list and said in June that Sammy Sosa was on it. In February, Sports Illustrated reported Alex Rodriguez was on the list, and Rodriguez later admitted using Primobolan from 2001-03.

Batting .171 (6 for 35) with two homers and six RBIs since the July 30 report, Ortiz was not in the starting lineup for Sunday night's series finale against the Yankees. With the crowd chanting "Steroids!" he pinch hit in the ninth inning and walked as New York won 5-2 to complete a four-game sweep.

"I think he's exhausted mentally and physically," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

Samples and records from baseball's anonymous survey in 2003 were seized by the federal government the following year from drug-testing companies as part of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative investigation into Barry Bonds and others. The list of 104 players said to have tested positive, attached to a grand jury subpoena, has been the subject of a five-year legal fight, with the union trying to force the government to return the material taken during raids.

While Hall of Famer Hank Aaron last week called for the entire list to be released, DuPuy backed the position of union general counsel Michael Weiner, who said it should remain confidential.

"I understand anyone's frustration. I've seen not just Hank Aaron, but Mark Teixeira I think made the statement, and maybe Vernon Wells," DuPuy said. "I've seen three or four people in the last week say we ought to just have the results out there and be done with it.

"First of all, we don't have the list, so that's not something that's within our control. Second, the list was supposed to be confidential. Third, you have the whole issue of significant lag of time now -- six years. And fourth, there are 90 names or 95 names that have not been leaked that were promised confidentiality and expected confidentiality and deserve confidentiality. So I think it's a complicated scenario but one we don't have any control over since we don't have the list."

Like the players' union, the commissioner's office is angry about names becoming public. The list is under court seal, and the case is before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. It may end up being decided by the Supreme Court.

MLB says at most 96 urine samples tested positive in the 2003 survey, and the union disputes 13 of those.

"We are continuing to be frustrated there are individuals that feel breaking the law for whatever reason they do it, do it maliciously and clearly in violation of standing court orders," DuPuy said. "People should be careful before they toss allegations around based on information that may or may not be accurate."

Leyland predicted another player will be identified in a month.

"I know the media has to report information," Leyland said. "I'm not blaming the media, but they're not going to let it alone. I'm not blaming anybody because it's news and that's what you people do for a living."

Leyland usually sidesteps conversations about steroids, but on Sunday said that while he does not condone the use of performance-enhancing drugs he suggested that most fans don't care about the issue.

"The people who care about it probably don't like baseball," Leyland said.

In any case, Leyland is "sick and tired" of the ongoing saga.

"We've made mistakes, there have been some guys who admitted it so you know it was there," he said. "How many people? I have no idea."