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Moreno says names will be named

Special to The Times

Angels owner Arte Moreno said Wednesday that he fully expects the soon-to-be-released Mitchell report on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball to include the names of players linked to those substances. Moreno is the first owner to say publicly that names will be included in the report.

“The names of players will come out that people will be mad about,” Moreno said, referring to the likelihood that the names may upset fans, players, the players’ union and others. “Some of my information is second-hand, but I know there’s going to be names.”

Moreno spoke to reporters after a news conference at Angel Stadium, where his club introduced the recently acquired center fielder Torii Hunter and pitcher Jon Garland.

Moreno described himself as a “squeaky wheel” who has urged the commissioner’s office to be “proactive in cleaning up” the sport of performance-enhancing drugs and said that “anyone who tries to cheat the system shouldn’t be in baseball.” He implied that he welcomed the Mitchell report as another step in that process.

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“If you’ve got dirty laundry, get it out there and get rid of it,” he said, adding that if anyone is to blame for baseball’s failure to take an aggressive stance on steroids and other substances before implementing a tougher testing program, “I blame the owners for not sticking up for too many years for what’s right.”

In March 2006, Commissioner Bud Selig appointed George Mitchell, a former Senate majority leader and federal prosecutor, to conduct an investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport.

Two baseball officials said Wednesday that Mitchell has officially notified the commissioner’s office and the players’ union that his report will be released in December.

Although lacking subpoena power (Jason Giambi, at Selig’s urging, is the only active player known to have met with Mitchell), his investigation has been aided by Kirk Radomski, a former New York Mets clubhouse attendant who pleaded guilty to steroid distribution in April. Radomski, in a plea agreement, acknowledged that he provided dozens of players with banned substances over a 10-year period and said that he had been encouraged to cooperate with Mitchell.

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In addition, the district attorney in Albany, N.Y., investigating several pharmacies and clinics linked to the shipment of steroids and human growth hormone to current and former players from 2002 to 2006 (during which time baseball’s testing program was significantly toughened), has supplied baseball with evidentiary material.

Among the players tied to those shipments in published reports are Giambi, Rick Ankiel of St. Louis, Paul Byrd of Cleveland, Jay Gibbons of Baltimore, Troy Glaus of Toronto and Gary Matthews Jr., the Angels outfielder who is alleged to have received a shipment of HGH in 2004 and who met with representatives of the commissioner to discuss it Nov. 7.

Matthews has said that he has never used HGH, and Moreno said Wednesday that he has had many meetings with Matthews and believes he is “clean” of any performance-enhancing drug. (Baseball does not test for HGH.)

Moreno said he does not know if Selig will discipline players who are named in the Mitchell report and insisted that there was “zero relationship” between the possibility that Matthews, a center fielder who will now move to a corner outfield position, could be suspended and the acquisition of Hunter, a Gold Glove center fielder.

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