Roger Clemens, one of professional baseball’s most durable and successful pitchers, is among six players allegedly linked to performance-enhancing drugs by a former teammate, The Times has learned. The names had been blacked out in an affidavit filed in federal court.
Others whose identities had been concealed include Clemens’ fellow Houston Astros pitcher Andy Pettitte and former American League most valuable player Miguel Tejada of the Baltimore Orioles.
The discovery ends four months of speculation surrounding the possible identities of Major League Baseball figures whose names were redacted from the search warrant affidavit filed in Phoenix on May 31. The document was based on statements allegedly made to federal agents by pitcher Jason Grimsley, who has since retired.
Grimsley, a journeyman relief pitcher who played on several teams, including the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and the Angels, acknowledged using steroids, amphetamines and other drugs, investigators said in the document. He also implicated a number of former teammates, but the names were blacked out in copies of the affidavit made public in June after investigators used the warrant to raid Grimsley’s house.
A source with authorized access to an unredacted affidavit allowed The Times to see it briefly and read aloud some of what had been blacked out of the public copies. A second source and confidant of Grimsley had previously disclosed player identities and provided additional details about the affidavit. The sources cooperated only on condition of anonymity.
According to the affidavit, Grimsley told investigators that Clemens “used athletic performance-enhancing drugs.” He also allegedly said Tejada used anabolic steroids.
Clemens and Pettitte did not respond to requests for comment made Saturday through their agents and the Astros. Tejada had previously declined to be interviewed.
Grimsley was questioned by investigators after he allegedly received an illegal shipment of human growth hormone, or HGH. The shipment was tracked to his Scottsdale, Ariz., home by a task force of federal agents investigating drug use in professional baseball, the affidavit said.
For a time, Grimsley secretly cooperated with investigators, they said, but stopped after retaining a lawyer.
According to the 20-page search warrant affidavit, signed by IRS Special Agent Jeff Novitzky, Grimsley told investigators he obtained amphetamines, anabolic steroids and human growth hormone from someone recommended to him by, a source said, former Yankees trainer Brian McNamee. McNamee is a personal strength coach for Clemens and Pettitte.
The former team trainer did not return several messages left with his wife and on his answering machine.
The affidavit also alleges that Grimsley told federal agents that former Orioles teammates Tejada, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons “took anabolic steroids.” Roberts was the American League’s all-star second baseman in 2005 when Grimsley was an Oriole.
All three Baltimore players declined to be interviewed. Roberts said he had “nothing to talk about” and didn’t know why he was named.
A sixth player, retired outfielder and first baseman David Segui, previously came forward to say that his name was among those blacked out in the affidavit provided to the public. Segui told ESPN in June that he used HGH on the advice of his doctor as recently as the 2004 season. He did not obtain approval from the league, he acknowledged.
Government officials have declined to comment about their ongoing investigation of drugs in professional baseball.
Clemens, 44, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner who came out of retirement to pitch for the Astros the last three seasons, was a teammate of Grimsley on the Yankees in 1999 and 2000, as was Pettitte, a two-time all-star who is nearing 200 career wins. Grimsley, Tejada, Gibbons, Roberts and Segui were teammates in Baltimore during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
Grimsley started this year with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but requested voluntary retirement in June after Major League Baseball suspended him for 50 games.
Edward Novak, Grimsley’s lawyer, did not return calls. Previously, he publicly disputed the claims investigators made in the affidavit, saying his client did not volunteer the names of any teammates. He said federal agents asked Grimsley to wear a recording device to gather evidence against San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds and that Grimsley refused.
Grimsley was not arrested and has not been charged. Since June, he has complained to friends that federal agents attributed statements and disclosures to him that he didn’t make.
“Jason is loyal to the death, a hardheaded guy who would not give up his friends,” one of Grimsley’s friends said Saturday. “The only names he discussed with those investigators were names ... [the investigators] suggested to him.”
The Grimsley friend, who talked about the investigation on the condition he not be named, said investigators warned the pitcher that “if he didn’t continue to cooperate, they would expose him as a rat.”
Rich Levin, a spokesman for Major League Baseball, said the organization and players association were “doing everything we can to eliminate the use of performance-enhancing substances and amphetamines from the game.”
Regarding the investigators’ affidavit, Levin said baseball officials had “no information [about] how it was obtained or its accuracy.”
Clemens has surprised many in the baseball world with his late-career success. Of his 348 career wins, 55 have come since the season he turned 40. In a controversial tell-all book released two winters ago, former major leaguer Jose Canseco speculated that Clemens’ late-career surge showed “classic signs” of steroid use.
“Roger says it is all nonsense,” Clemens’ agent, Randy Hendricks, responded to Newsday at the time. He said the pitcher “takes vitamin B-12 shots ... and will pass every [drug] test.”
On Saturday, the agent told the Associated Press: “I’ve grown weary of having to defend [Clemens] from innuendo and conjecture about every six months for the last several years when he’s complied with all of the rules and regulations.”
Speaking of another of his clients, Pettitte, Hendricks told AP: “Andy is just surprised and stunned, and has no knowledge of any such activity.”
Pettitte, 34, pitched nine seasons and was a part of four World Series championships with the Yankees, then signed with the Astros after the 2003 season, helping Houston advance to the World Series in 2005. He has won 14 games this year for a career record of 186 wins, 104 losses.
Tejada, listed at 5-feet-9, 215 pounds, hit 30 home runs in 2000 for the Oakland A’s and has established himself as one of the game’s best middle-infield power hitters.
He was drawn into baseball’s steroids scandal in August 2005, when then-teammate Rafael Palmeiro, who tested positive for an anabolic steroid and was suspended for 10 games, told an appeals panel the test might have resulted from injectable vitamins given to him by Tejada. After investigating, the panel cleared Tejada.
Tejada’s increasingly sullen demeanor has attracted hometown news media coverage in Baltimore, where he also has become a target of complaints from fans who accuse him of not hustling.
During the summer, he canceled an interview with The Times for this article. “I don’t want to talk to you,” he said. Later, Tejada referred a reporter to agent Diego Bentz, who did not return calls.
Outfielder Gibbons, a product of Mayfair High School in Lakewood and Cal State Los Angeles, spent late June on the disabled list with a knee injury in Scottsdale, Ariz. His father, Jim, acknowledged at his Lakewood home on July 5 that the player was aware of the affidavit.
“Is this about Grimsley?” the elder Gibbons asked a Times reporter. “I’m not saying anything about it. I’ll let him know you stopped by.”
Roberts, listed at 5-9, 175, hit 18 home runs in 561 at-bats last season, matching his combined total through the previous six years in the major and minor leagues.
After a victory over the Red Sox in Boston on Saturday, two of the Orioles told the Baltimore Sun that they denied the claims made in the affidavit.
“I don’t pay any attention to what” Grimsley allegedly said about performance-enhancing drug use, Tejada said. “I know that I’ve never had a problem with that. I know that I’ve never used that, and I know I am clean. I don’t worry about anybody who puts me in that stuff. I’ll get checked out for anybody, any time, any moment -- whenever they want.”
Gibbons said: “I have passed every test administered by Major League Baseball over all the years. And I am not going to dignify these claims and accusations with any further response.”
Grimsley told investigators he had used anabolic steroids beginning in 2000, tested positive during 2003 trial testing, and switched to human growth hormone, undetectable in a urine test, after that. He admitted to using amphetamines until an agreement with the players association banned them several months ago, according to the affidavit.
In a major league career that began with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1989, Grimsley played for seven organizations.
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Starting pitcher, Houston Astros
Career: 348 wins, 178 losses, 3.10 ERA.
The 11-time all-star and seven-time Cy Young winner has pitched for Boston, Toronto, the New York Yankees and the Astros in his 23-year career.
Starting pitcher, Houston Astros
Career: 186 wins 104 losses, 3.81 ERA.
A two-time all-star, he twice won 20 or more games while pitching for the New York Yankees from 1995 to 2003. He joined the Astros in 2004.
Shortstop, Baltimore Orioles
Career: 1,584 hits, 240 home runs, 952 RBI, .286 career batting average.
- He was the 2002 American League MVP with Oakland, for whom he played from 1997 to 2003.
Second base, Baltimore Orioles
Career: .280 career batting average, 40 home runs, 250 RBI.
- Was an all-star in 2005, his fifth season in the major leagues, all with the Orioles.
Outfield, Baltimore Orioles
Career: .263 career batting average, 115 home runs, 377 RBI.
- This is his sixth season in the major leagues, all with the Orioles.
Former relief pitcher, Arizona Diamondbacks
Career: 42 wins, 58 losses, 4.77 ERA.
- Suspended in June after acknowledging use of a performance-enhancing drug. He retired.
Sources: www.mlb.com; Times reports