Thursday, October 28, 2010
Report: Jose Guillen part of HGH probe
ESPN.com news services
SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco Giants outfielder Jose Guillen, left off the team's postseason roster, is linked to a federal investigation into shipments of performance-enhancing drugs, The New York Times reported on its website Thursday night.
The story, citing several unidentified lawyers, said federal authorities told Major League Baseball they were looking into shipments of human growth hormone, allegedly sent to Guillen's wife in the Bay Area.
That was just before the postseason began, The Times said. Guillen was left off the Giants' roster for all three rounds because of a nagging neck injury, according to manager Bruce Bochy. According to The Times, the Giants were told to leave Guillen off the roster by Major League Baseball.
A person in Major League Baseball confirmed the investigation to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe was ongoing.
"I don't know anything about it and right now I don't have a comment," Bochy said.
Jay Reisinger, Guillen's attorney, also declined comment in an e-mail. San Francisco beat the Texas Rangers 9-0 on Thursday night for a 2-0 lead in the World Series.
Guillen's teammates were surprised to learn of the investigation.
"Hmmm, I never heard about it," Eugenio Velez said. "Wow."
Pablo Sandoval also had no knowledge of Guillen's situation and would not comment.
It was a bit of a surprise when Guillen wasn't included on the Giants' roster for their first playoff series against Atlanta. And while other Giants who were left off -- including $126 million pitcher Barry Zito -- have been around throughout the team's October run, Guillen has been curiously absent.
Hitting coach Hensley Meulens said he hadn't been in contact with Guillen since the playoffs began.
"I have no clue, no idea," Meulens said upon being told of the investigation.
The 34-year-old Guillen has been tied to performance-enhancing drugs before. The San Francisco Chronicle reported in 2007 that he allegedly purchased more than $19,000 worth of HGH, steroids and other drugs from the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center between May 2002 and June 2005.
MLB suspended Guillen for 15 days following the report, then rescinded the penalty in May 2008 as part of a deal between players and owners to toughen the sport's drug rules.
Guillen has played for 10 teams since breaking into the big leagues with Pittsburgh in 1997. He is a .270 career hitter with 214 homers and 887 RBIs.
Guillen was suspended by the Angels for the last two weeks of the 2004 regular season and postseason for inappropriate conduct after expressing his displeasure with manager Mike Scioscia. After the year, Guillen was traded to the Washington Nationals.
In July 2008, Guillen got into a heated clubhouse exchange with Royals pitching coach Bob McClure, knocking over chairs before several players separated them before a game at Tampa Bay. Guillen also unleashed a profanity-filled tirade against his teammates that May.
Looking for more offense, the Giants acquired Guillen from the Kansas City Royals in a trade on Aug. 13. He batted .266 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 42 games for the NL West champions.
In July, baseball implemented random blood testing for HGH in the minor leagues, the first professional sports league in the United States to take the aggressive step against doping.
Testing was limited to players with minor league contracts because they are not members of the players' association, which means blood testing is not subject to collective bargaining. The players' association has long been against blood testing for HGH, though the union has discussed the issue with MLB.
Bochy spoke with several of Guillen's former managers and coaches before the Giants acquired him and received good reports. The manager also talked to Guillen himself.
Three years ago, the outfielder-designated hitter signed a $36 million, three-year contract that made him the Royals' highest paid player per year in team history. He was leading the Royals with 62 RBIs and 16 home runs when he was designated for assignment on Aug. 5 this year.
Guillen struggled with injuries in Kansas City. He played in only 81 games last year and hit nine homers, tied for his fewest since 2002. He was out for weeks after injuring his knee while putting on a shin guard and missed several days of spring training in 2009 after deciding to rip out an ingrown toenail with a pair of pliers.
This season, Guillen struggled with a left quadriceps injury and ended his stint in Kansas City in an 0-for-21 slump.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.