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Congress Asks Players for Input on Palmeiro

From Associated Press

Congressional investigators looking into whether Rafael Palmeiro lied under oath are interviewing players who know him, including a Colorado outfielder suspended this year for steroids, Associated Press has learned.

Palmeiro testified to the House Government Reform Committee in March that he never had used steroids. The Baltimore Oriole slugger was suspended by Major League Baseball for 10 days in August for failing a drug test.

A congressional source familiar with the committee’s work, speaking to AP on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said Monday that “several active players” have spoken or will speak with the committee, though the source identified no players.

But Colorado Rocky outfielder Jorge Piedra told Associated Press that he had spoken on the phone with the committee. He said investigators contacted him through his agent about a week ago, found out “all they wanted to know” in a matter of minutes.

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“I told them I didn’t have anything to do with Palmeiro,” Piedra said after the Rockies played the Padres in Denver.

“We only worked out a few times together.” Piedra, who had trained with Palmeiro during the off-season, was suspended for 10 days in April for a positive steroid test, the second player to be publicly identified under the sport’s new rules. The congressional source indicated that all the players asked to talk to the committee recently were chosen because they have relationships with Palmeiro -- such as teammates or workout partners -- and could have knowledge about whether he might have used steroids before his testimony.

After baseball announced Palmeiro’s suspension on Aug. 1, the player stood by his statements to Congress, saying he didn’t know what caused the test result. When he returned to the Orioles after his ban, Palmeiro said he would not speak about the case until Congress concluded its perjury investigation.

Palmeiro has not been interviewed by the committee since he was suspended, but he did agree to allow Major League Baseball to turn over his test results and other documents to Congress, and the committee has praised him for being cooperative.

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