Merloni's exact quotes, according to The Boston Globe, were: "I'm in Spring Training, and I got an 8:30-9:00 meeting in the morning. I walk into that office, and this happened while I was with the Boston Red Sox before this last regime, I'm sitting in the meeting. There's a doctor up there and he's talking about steroids, and everyone was like, 'Here we go, we're going to sit here and get the whole thing -- they're bad for you.'
"No. He spins it and says, 'You know what? If you take steroids and sit on the couch all winter long, you can actually get stronger than someone who works out clean. If you're going to take steroids, one cycle won't hurt you; abusing steroids it will.'
"He sat there for one hour and told us how to properly use steroids while I'm with the Boston Red Sox, sitting there with the rest of the organization, and after this I said, 'What the heck was that?' And everybody on the team was like, 'What was that?' And the response we got was, 'Well, we know guys are taking it, so we want to make sure they're taking it the right way.' ... Where did that come from? That didn't come from the Players Association."
On Sunday, Merloni slightly clarified his statements in an interview with The Globe, saying that neither the doctor nor anyone associated with the Red Sox encouraged steroid use, but he did say the team probably was aware that some of its players were using steroids.
"It was like teaching your teenage daughter about sex education," Merloni told the newspaper. "The organization acknowledged that there were likely players using steroids, and basically, 'If you're going to use them, this is how you use them so you don't abuse them.'"
Merloni, who was in the Red Sox's Minor League system in 1996 and '97 and played for the big league team from 1998-2002, said he couldn't remember the doctor's name or when the meeting took place, but he did say that a former athletic trainer told him that the Red Sox were aware that players were using.
Boston's general manager during Merloni's Red Sox tenure, Dan Duquette, responded angrily to Merloni's claims, according to The Globe.
"It's ridiculous -- it's totally unfounded," Duquette said. "Who was the doctor? Tell me who the doctor is. If there was such a doctor, he wasn't in the employ of the Red Sox. We brought in doctors to educate the players on the Major League drug policy at the time at the recommendation of Major League Baseball. This is so ridiculous, I hate to even respond to it."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.