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Report: Grimsley involved in drug probe

Report: D-Backs' Grimsley<br>involved in drug probe

The federal government's ever-widening probe into the use of steroids and amphetamines in Major League Baseball reportedly has snared Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Jason Grimsley, the Arizona Republic said on its Web site on Tuesday night.

According to the Republic, Jeff Novitzky, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service special agent in charge of the four-year-old investigation into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), filed an affidavit with the U.S. District Court in Phoenix in which Grimsley admitted taking illegal performance-enhancing drugs and said that amphetamines were once used "like aspirin" in Major League clubhouses.

Grimsley reportedly agreed to cooperate with the IRS after the 39-year-old veteran, now in his 15th big-league season, received a package containing two kits of human growth hormone (HGH) on April 19 at his Scottsdale, Ariz., home. The IRS had been awaiting the delivery of the shipment.

Asked about the probe prior to Arizona's game Tuesday night against the Phillies at Chase Field, Grimsley said: "I have no comment about that and no idea about that."

The paper said Grimsley also provided "details about his knowledge of other Major League Baseball players" who took steroids or amphetamines, including several close acquaintances.

The Diamondbacks released a statement from Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick that read:

"We were first informed of this situation late this afternoon. This is a federal investigation and as long as it is active and ongoing, we are prohibited from making any further comments."

Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer, said in response to an e-mail that baseball had spoken to the Diamondbacks about the case. "This is an ongoing criminal investigation," DuPuy said. "At this point we will have no further comment."

The latest revelations come against the background of MLB's investigation into steroids headed by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, which began just before the current season and has no timetable for coming to a conclusion. MLB began random testing for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, but this year's rules are the toughest in its fight to eradicate performance-enhancing drugs and amphetamines from the sport.

For the first time this season at both the Major League and Minor League level, any player initially testing positive for a whole host of steroids and steroid precursors is immediately suspended for 50 games. Players on the 40-man rosters of each MLB team are also being tested for amphetamines for the first time, but an initial positive test would put that player on a clinical tract.

There have been no announcements of any suspensions as of yet this season at the Major League level after 12 players, including former Orioles player Rafael Palmeiro, tested positive and were suspended for 10 days each last season.

HGH, which is illegal under the current rules, is not tested for because a reliable test -- urine or blood -- has not yet been developed. In the agreement between MLB and the players association, only random urinalysis is permissible, but the two sides have invested money into research for a valid urine test to detect HGH.

Novitzky is the agent who uncovered the evidence that was used to get a warrant to raid the BALCO offices just south of San Francisco in September 2003. In what was then a money laundering investigation, the tentacles of its reach spread to a myriad of track, football and baseball stars -- including Barry Bonds of the Giants and Jason Giambi of the Yankees -- when information allegedly linking them to steroid use was discovered during the raid.

Later that year Bonds and Giambi were called before a federal grand jury sitting in San Francisco to testify with immunity in regard to what they knew about BALCO. Though portions of their testimony were leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle, neither player nor any other athlete involved in the case were indicted.

In the long run, five indictments were handed down. But each person involved was allowed to plea bargain their punishment as most of the charges were dropped. Victor Conte, BALCO's president, and Greg Anderson, Bonds' former personal trainer, both pled guilty. Conte served four months in jail and four months of home detention, while Anderson served three and three.

The Chronicle reported this past April that another federal grand jury is investigating whether Bonds perjured himself in his original testimony, but no further information has come to light in those proceedings.

According to the Arizona Republic, Novitzky's affidavit detailed a two-hour interview with Grimsley on April 19. Grimsley reportedly said that until last season, big league clubhouses had coffee pots marked "leaded" and "unleaded" to indicate to players which brew was laced with amphetamines; that Latin players were the major source of that drug, and that players on southern California-based teams could easily go into Mexico to get them.

For Grimsley, this is his first year with the Diamondbacks after spending the last 11 seasons in the American League with four different teams, including the Orioles and Royals twice.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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