Parque, a left-hander, wrote that he blew out the labrum in his throwing shoulder in Game 1 of the 2000 American League Championship Series while starting for the White Sox against the Mariners, and after a few years trying to make it back via rehabilitation and surgery -- never regaining the velocity on his pitches -- he said administered HGH to himself in late 2002, after he was let go by the White Sox.
Parque signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent in January 2003.
"What was I going to do?" Parque wrote. "I had no job skills, no experience in the real world. I had given this game everything I had, and it was all I knew. The competition, being a part of something bigger than myself -- I wasn't willing to give up those things.
"With my career in jeopardy, I turned to performance-enhancing drugs, like some other players did. I never had needed them before, but with a shoulder that wouldn't heal, it was realistically the only thing I could turn to. HGH was not banned by Major League Baseball when I ordered it. It was controversial and unethical, but it was not banned. When the HGH arrived, it was unmarked -- just some needles and vials.
"I was uncomfortable, but I injected the substance about six times. It immediately made me sleep deeper. My skin became baby-soft, and I could feel my workouts improving. It never gave me more strength or bulked me up, but it provided quicker recoveries. I began to throw harder because my shoulder felt no pain. I was able to withstand more throwing, creating a work environment that I had not experienced in two years."
Parque, who pitched in only five games in 2003, going 1-1 with an 11.94 ERA, said he stopped using HGH soon after because he realized "that my priorities were not focused on my family," which includes a wife and two daughters.
"The euphoric feelings that HGH provided were false and clouded my ability to think clearly," Parque wrote. "I also felt I was risking long-term health issues that could jeopardize my family. I am proud of the fact that I put my family first during this time, but I made the wrong decisions from the start as a baseball player.
"Kids should learn from my poor and unethical decisions, as everything steamrolls downhill when one enters into the world of drugs."