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Orioles issue statement in response to Mitchell Report

BALTIMORE --The Baltimore Orioles, one of the clubs hit
hardest by the Mitchell report, issued a statement Saturday night
calling for tougher drug testing but asking the public not to judge
players based on "unsubstantiated allegations."

Nineteen current or former Orioles were named in the report as
having used illegal performance-enhancing drugs, including
All-Stars Miguel Tejada and Brian Roberts.

Tejada was traded to the Houston Astros on Wednesday, the day
before the report was released. Roberts remains with the Orioles.

Another current Oriole, Jay Gibbons, was suspended for the first
15 days of the 2008 season after it was determined he received
human growth hormone after January 2005, when it was banned by
baseball. Gibbons accepted responsibility and apologized.

Former teammate Larry Bigbie told investigators that Roberts
admitted to him in 2004 "that he had injected himself once or
twice with steroids in 2003." Bigbie also admitted using steroids.

"The Orioles caution observers to resist the temptation to
accept collective judgments based on unsubstantiated allegations,"
the statement read. "The Orioles further believe that each Major
League player must be treated on an individual basis, must not be
judged responsible by mere association, and is innocent of any
improper conduct until proven otherwise beyond a reasonable
doubt."

Steroid suspicion has long plagued the Orioles. Rafael Palmeiro
was suspended from the club in August 2005 after a positive steroid
test. He has suggested he may have received a tainted shot of
Vitamin B12 from Tejada.

The Mitchell report painted a disturbing picture of the
Baltimore clubhouse at the time. Bigbie told investigators that he
saw Tejada injecting himself with B12 in the restroom.

"The presence of syringes in a major league clubhouse, by
itself, should have been a cause of significant concern," the
report said.

Other former Orioles named in the report were: David Segui,
Jerry Hairston Jr., Jason Grimsley, Jack Cust, Tim Laker, Gregg
Zaun, Kevin Brown, Howie Clark, Todd Williams, Manny Alexander,
Kent Mercker, Gary Matthews Jr., Ricky Bones and Darren Holmes.

"The Orioles support Major League Baseball's efforts to
institute the most comprehensive testing program of any
professional sport and one that strives to eliminate the use of
performance enhancing drugs from all of baseball," the statement
read.