Tigers linked to Mitchell Report

Tigers linked to Mitchell Report

With one current player and several former Tigers named in former Sen. George Mitchell's report on performance-enhancing substances in Major League Baseball, the Tigers are taking time to review the document before offering much comment.

Gary Sheffield, previously named in the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (BALCO) investigation, is the only current member of the Tigers whose name surfaces in the report, which was released to the public Thursday afternoon.

The report contains no evidence that Sheffield used performance-enhancing substances beyond 2005, when MLB initiated a new steroids policy.

Three former members of the Tigers -- outfielders Nook Logan and Rondell White and infielder Fernando Vina -- are mentioned as having received steroid shipments during their days with Detroit.

General manager Dave Dombrowski directed interview requests on the matter to the club's media relations department, which released the following statement: "The Tigers support the process that has taken place to compile this report and Sen. Mitchell for leading the effort. The eradication of performance-enhancing substances in baseball and protecting the integrity of the game are the ultimate goals of the industry."

Tigers manager Jim Leyland declined to comment on the report. Sheffield's representative, Rufus Williams, did not immediately respond to an interview request.

It was Sheffield who, in a USA Today story earlier this year, called Mitchell's investigation a "witch hunt." But he later recanted that comment and said he'd be willing to participate.

The report states as much, claiming that Sheffield agreed to be interviewed, subject to the availability of his lawyer, who was undergoing medical treatments. Because of the lawyer's medical condition, though, the report states the two sides never got together before the investigation was completed.

The report summarizes a previous San Francisco Chronicle report that Sheffield testified before a grand jury in 2003 that Barry Bonds had arranged for him to receive designer steroids "the cream" and "the clear" and steroid pills known as "red beans." Sheffield reportedly testified that he did not know the substances he received were steroids.

Though the report is short on new information concerning Sheffield, it does cite a letter from Federal Magistrate Judge Larry M. Boyle to Commissioner Bud Selig in 2006, in which Boyle details a conversation he had on a Minneapolis airport shuttle bus with Bonds' personal trainer, Greg Anderson. According to the letter, Anderson told Boyle that he was in Minneapolis to work with Sheffield, at Bonds' urging.

Logan, White and Vina are all named as having purchased performance-enhancing drugs from Kirk Radomski, a former Mets clubhouse employee who cooperated with the Mitchell investigation after pleading guilty to distributing the drugs to Major Leaguers.

The three players were all members of the 2004 Tigers team, and the report also includes mention of a steroid-related incident in that team's clubhouse that went unreported.

According to the report, at the end of the '04 season, a Tigers clubhouse employee cleaning out the club's locker room found a toiletry kit that contained unused syringes and vials determined to be anabolic steroids.

"The employee said that he could not remember who the bag belonged to," the report states.

Alex Sanchez, another member of that '04 team, became the first Major Leaguer suspended for violating the league's drug policy in 2005, when he was with the Devil Rays.

Several high-profile, superstar-caliber players were among those named in Mitchell's report, which is the product of a 21-month, multimillion dollar investigation that could shape decisions, prompt punitive actions against active players, and usher in the next era of the sport.

Free agent Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte of the Yankees, Miguel Tejada of the Astros, Eric Gagne of the Brewers and Paul Lo Duca of the Nationals were among the most prominent former and current All-Stars to be mentioned in the lengthy report, which spans 311 pages, plus multiple exhibits, including evidence of signed checks, handwritten notes and shipping receipts.

The players listed in the paragraph above are by no means the only players listed in the report, but in MLB.com's first, quick review of the document, those names stood out by their notoriety. Our coverage will continue minute-by-minute through the course of the proceedings and for the foreseeable future thereafter, but the entire report is available for viewing here at MLB.com.

While the report detailed drug use in baseball by naming those accused, the report also contained 19 separate recommendations for the sport to move forward from this point, proceeding after a culture of steroids and performance enhancement grew exponentially in the late 1990s.

Mitchell's report named both Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association in assigning blame, charging leadership -- from the Commissioner to club owners and general managers -- for allowing the issue to proliferate.

Mark Carreon, Hal Morris and Phil Hiatt, who all played briefly for the Tigers at one point in their careers, are also mentioned in the report, though none of them appear to have purchased the drugs while they were members of the team.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.