Former trainer denies Jack Clark’s claim that Albert Pujols used PEDs
CLEVELAND — A former personal trainer for Angels slugger Albert Pujols strongly denied accusations by former major leaguer Jack Clark that Pujols used performance-enhancing drugs during his early days with the St. Louis Cardinals.
“I haven’t even talked to Jack Clark in close to 10 years — his statements are simply not true,” Chris Mihlfeld, who worked with the Dodgers in 2000, when Clark was the team’s hitting coach, wrote in an email to The Times.
“I have known Albert Pujols since he was 18 years old, and he would never use illegal drugs in any way. I would bet my life on it and probably drop dead on the spot if I found out he has. As before, once again, both Albert and myself have been accused of doing something we didn’t do,” Mihlfield wrote.
Clark, who hit 340 home runs during an 18-year big league career from 1975 to 1992, is now a sports radio personality in St. Louis. When on-air partner Kevin Slaten at WGNU-AM (920) recently said that he had long believed that Pujols “has been a juicer,” Clark jumped in with his own take.
“I know for a fact he was,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Clark as saying. “The trainer that worked with him, threw him batting practice from Kansas City, that worked him out every day, basically told me that’s what he did.”
Clark then spoke of a conversation he claimed he had about a dozen years ago with Mihlfeld, who has worked for several major league organizations and is now working in youth baseball in the Kansas City area.
Mihlfeld “had told me what he was doing with ‘Poolie’ — threw him batting practice, worked him out, shot him up, all that stuff,” Clark said on the air.
Dan Lozano, Pujols’ agent, declined to comment when reached by the Post-Dispatch. Pujols, on the disabled list because of a left foot injury, did not travel with the Angels to Cleveland.
Pujols, who has never been known to fail an MLB drug test, addressed similar accusations in 2006 when one of the players Mihlfeld trained, pitcher Jason Grimsley, was suspended after admitting he used PEDs.
Mihlfeld was Pujols’ coach at Maple Woods Community College in suburban Kansas City in 1998. Pujols was a 13th-round draft pick of the Cardinals in 1999 but emerged as a superstar in 2001 and put together an 11-year, Hall-of-Fame-caliber career with the Cardinals, hitting .328 with a .420 on-base percentage, .617 slugging percentage, 445 home runs and 1,329 runs batted in. He signed a 10-year, $240-million deal with the Angels before the 2012 season.
“I don’t resent this as much for myself as I do for Chris,” Pujols said at the time of the shadow cast by Grimsley’s suspension. “He’s got no way to defend himself against somebody who puts something out there that’s not true.”
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