Rangers' Byrd using products from Conte

Rangers' Byrd using products from Conte

Rangers center fielder Marlon Byrd said Wednesday he has been using supplements supplied by Victor Conte, the founder and former president of the Bay Area Co-Operative Laboratory (BALCO) and a central figure in the ongoing story surrounding performance-enhancing drugs in baseball and other sports.

According to a report on Yahoo! Sports, Byrd reached out to Conte in January 2008 and has been using "a variety of pills and powders" supplied by Conte's new company for more than a year.

Drug Policy in Baseball

"He keeps me right," Byrd said when asked after Wednesday's game about the relationship. "He keeps me healthy. I'm sick and tired of going to GNC and taking a chance. There are guys going into GNC and getting 50-game suspensions."

Byrd also said that the substances he uses are approved by Major League Baseball and NSF Sport, the international public health company that works with MLB to provide lists of approved substances. "Everything I use is approved," he said. "Everything."

MLB officials have not commented on whether the substances are approved.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the club has a clear policy when it comes to supplements or other products players take.

"I haven't talked to Marlon but we provide and recommend only NSF approved products and we recommend our players take those," Daniels said. "We prefer all our players to do that. Ultimately they are held accountable to the MLB testing system and not taking only NSF approved products is at your own risk."

Conte became a national figure after BALCO was raided by federal authorities in September 2003. Conte later served four months in prison and four months of home confinement after pleading guilty to money laundering and a steroid distribution charge, and dozens of other charges were dropped as part of his plea deal. All-time Major League home run leader Barry Bonds is currently on trial for making false statements to a grand jury that nearly five years ago investigated BALCO for money laundering and the illicit sales of performance-enhancing drugs. Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield are among other baseball players who testified during grand jury proceedings relating to BALCO.

Conte's business is now called SNAC, which stands for Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning. The Yahoo article said Byrd contacted Conte after seeing his company's Web site, and began receiving numerous SNAC products, having some sent to the Rangers' Spring Training facility in Surprise, Ariz., as well as the team's clubhouse in Arlington.

"Marlon was working with a doctor, doing blood testing, a fairly sophisticated regimen," Conte told Yahoo. "He faxed me the blood results and nutritional program. I told him, 'You are taking a bite of this and a bite of that. I'll teach you how to sit down and have a feast.'"

Byrd, 31, is batting .283 with four homers and 32 RBIs this season, his third with the Rangers and seventh full season in the Majors.

John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, The Grind. MLB.com reporter T.R. Sullivan contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.