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Angels’ Matthews won’t be suspended

Times Staff Writer

NASHVILLE -- Angels outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. will not be suspended for allegedly ordering human growth hormone, the commissioner’s office announced Thursday.

Former Angels outfielder Jose Guillen and Baltimore Orioles outfielder Jay Gibbons were suspended 15 days for violating baseball’s drug policy. Guillen said he would appeal; Gibbons said he would not.

The Kansas City Royals signed Guillen to a three-year, $36-million contract earlier Thursday.

“We signed Jose knowing this was a possibility,” Royals General Manager Dayton Moore said in a statement. “While my initial reaction is one of disappointment, I am thoroughly convinced that Jose will put this behind him.”

In addition to Matthews, two former Angels -- Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Troy Glaus and New York Mets pitcher Scott Schoeneweis -- and St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel -- escaped suspension.

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The statement from the commissioner’s office did not address whether the players used or received performance-enhancing substances but said “insufficient evidence” existed to show a violation of baseball’s drug policy “at the time of the conduct in question.” The commissioner’s office continues to investigate reports linking Cleveland Indians pitcher Paul Byrd and free-agent utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. to performance-enhancing substances.

The 15-day suspensions for Guillen and Gibbons reflect the penalty for a second positive steroid test in 2003-04.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Guillen ordered steroids and HGH from 2002 to ’05. According to SI.com, Gibbons received testosterone and HGH from 2003 to ’05.

Matthews was linked to an HGH shipment in 2004 as part of a national investigation into Internet drug trafficking, according to published reports. The commissioner’s office interviewed him about the reports last month.

Baseball did not ban steroids until 2003 and HGH until 2005, so the players’ union could have persuaded an arbitrator to overturn any suspension even if the commissioner’s office provided evidence to document the HGH shipment. Under the drug policy currently in effect, a first positive test requires a suspension of 50 games and a player possessing or using banned substances is subject to a suspension of 60 to 80 games.

In a statement in March, Matthews denied ever using HGH. He has refused to address whether he has ordered or received HGH.

Scott Leventhal, Matthews’ agent, declined to comment. Angels spokesman Tim Mead said Matthews had satisfied owner Arte Moreno with that statement and said Moreno now considered the matter closed.

Former Sen. George Mitchell is expected to issue his report on steroids in baseball later this month.

It is uncertain whether the commissioner’s office will suspend players cited in the report for using steroids and what evidence Mitchell will offer in support of any citations.

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com


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