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Another baffling pitch by Gagne

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PHOENIX -- In his first public comments since the Mitchell Report linked him to human growth hormones two months ago, former Dodger closer Eric Gagne apologized to his family, friends and new Milwaukee Brewer teammates today but stopped short of admitting to the use of performance-enhancing substances.

"I feel bad for my family, what they had to go through. And all my friends. And especially my teammates here in Milwaukee," said Gagne, who spoke for about a minute. "It's just a distraction that shouldn't be taking place. I'm just here to help the Milwaukee Brewers to get to the World Series and get to the playoffs. And that's all I really care about."

Gagne, a Canadian, addressed reporters in both English and French but did not take questions. He did, however, laud baseball's efforts to rid the sport of steroids and other drugs, specifically citing the Mitchell Report in his comments in French.

"Since 2004, Major League Baseball has done everything in their power to clean up the game," he said. "And I think they've done a great job. Right now I just want to go forward. I think Major League Baseball is ready to go forward. And hopefully all the fans are ready to do that."

Gagne, who converted a record 84 consecutive save opportunities and won a Cy Young Award during his eight seasons with the Dodgers, was introduced to admitted steroid dealer Kurt Radomski by former Dodgers teammate Paul Lo Duca, according to the Mitchell Report. The report said Gagne told Radomski he wanted to buy human growth hormone and Radomski mailed him two shipments, one to the pitcher's home in Florida and the other, in August 2004, to the home clubhouse at Dodger Stadium.

Lo Duca paid for one of the shipments, while Gagne sent $3,200 in cash via Federal Express for the other package.

Gagne, who pitched for both the Rangers and Red Sox last season, signed a one-year, $10-million free-agent contract with the Brewers two days before the Mitchell Report was released in mid-December. But Milwaukee General Manager Doug Melvin, who has said he was aware of Gagne's background, said Sunday he has no regrets about the signing.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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