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Schoeneweis linked to steroid probe

Schoeneweis linked to steroid probe

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In the ever-widening probe of illicit sales of performance-enhancing drugs via pharmacies doing business on the Internet, pitcher Scott Schoeneweis has been tied to the controversy, ESPN.com reported on Monday.

The left-hander, who pitched for the Mets this season, was reported to have purchased six shipments of steroids from Signature Pharmacy while playing for the Chicago White Sox in 2003 and 2004. Schoeneweis is a survivor of testicular cancer.

The news comes about a month after Blue Jays third baseman Troy Glaus, Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel and Orioles outfielder Jay Gibbons were reportedly ensnared in the investigation, being conducted the last two years through the Albany, N.Y., District Attorney's office. All four players allegedly purchased performance-enhancing drugs through Signature Pharmacy, which is based in Orlando, Fla.

Ankiel and Gibbons have subsequently cooperated with Major League Baseball and have met with officials to discuss the allegations.

In the latest report, citing Florida sources, ESPN said that packages addressed to Schoeneweis were delivered to U.S. Cellular Field in 2003 and 2004. Schoeneweis underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow later in the 2004 season.

ESPN also said that "the doctor who prescribed the drugs, Ramon Scruggs of the New Hope Health Center in Tustin, Calif., also wrote prescriptions for Glaus. Scruggs has since been suspended by California's state medical board on charges that he 'prescribed approximately 6,073 prescriptions of dangerous drugs or controlled substances over the Internet without a good faith examination of the patients.'"

In all four cases, no charges have been brought against the players and there has been no proof that any of the players used the drugs after receiving them.

Angels center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. was also tied to the probe and was reported back in February to have procured human growth hormone via the Internet, but not through the same pharmacy. Matthews was never charged and has so far not been asked to meet with MLB officials to discuss the matter.

Testosterone and many anabolic steroids were banned by MLB in 2003 when drug testing began at the big-league level on a survey basis only. HGH was placed on the list in 2005 when the drug policy was expanded and punitive penalties went into effect for a player testing positive for the first time.

The names of players are leaking out as former U.S. Senator George Mitchell is supposedly concluding his investigation into MLB's steroid era. He was charged by Commissioner Bud Selig with compiling a report almost 19 months ago. That report is expected to be made public sometime during the offseason.

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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