CINCINNATI -- Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo never has been afraid to answer direct questions or comment about sensitive issues. That didn't change on Friday, even after he became caught up in a national story. "This is what happens when you spit the truth," Arroyo said on Friday afternoon as he noticed several media people gather near his locker. Why was he a sudden topic of interest? In the Friday edition of the Boston Herald, while standing up for former Red Sox teammates David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, Arroyo said he took androstenedione and amphetamines before both performance-enhancing drugs were banned by baseball.
On Thursday, the New York Times reported that Ortiz and Ramirez were on the list of 104 Major League players who tested positive in 2003 for using performance-enhancing drugs. The test results, which were supposed to remain private, were part of a program to determine whether Major League Baseball should move forward with league-wide testing for PEDs. "Anybody could be on that list, pre-2004," Arroyo said. "Before that, you never knew what you were getting. The FDA doesn't regulate things unless it's killing people. "No one knows, of the 104 guys that are on there, if David Ortiz was taking a steroid or not taking a steroid. There are so many things out there that could have made us fail the test. I'm defending those guys and saying until you know the whole truth, you can't really convict those guys. There are so many things out there that can make you test positive back in those days." Arroyo said he took andro from 1998-2003, but stopped when he heard the products could be laced with steroids. Andro was banned from baseball in '04. "Nineteen ninety-eight was a big year for Mark McGwire. That was when he had the stuff sitting in his locker," Arroyo said. "Everyone was aware of the fact that he took that stuff and said he was taking it. So everybody went out and tried it. I tried it in the Arizona Fall League. I thought I could hit my head on the rim [playing basketball]. [Pitcher] Mike Lincoln and I would go to 24-hour Fitness every night, shoot hoops and work out until midnight-1 a.m. I felt unbelievable on this stuff. I took it through 2003, until they told me that stuff would give me a positive test. So I didn't take it anymore." Arroyo doesn't plan on contacting the players' union to see if he, in fact, tested positive in '03. As for amphetamines, which were commonly known as greenies, Arroyo had no problem admitting usage until they were banned before the 2006 season. "Oh yeah, of course I took a greenie for a 12:35 p.m. game," Arroyo said. "Pitching against Johan Santana, you don't think I'm going to take a greenie if I could? C'mon." Arroyo first reached the Major Leagues with the Pirates in 2000. He played for the Red Sox from 2003-05 and was part of Boston's first World Series championship team since 1918 in '04. He was acquired by the Reds in a trade before the 2006 season. Since random drug testing became mandatory in 2004, Arroyo has never failed a test. He still uses a variety of legal substances to get a physical edge, including creatine, proteins, vitamins, ginseng and caffeinated drinks. As for the potential health risks that could be associated with taking performance-enhancing drugs, Arroyo wasn't concerned. "I'd love to wake up in the morning, have some fruit, a bowl of cereal and have a good lunch and maybe take a multivitamin for the day," Arroyo said. "The reality is I'm probably not going to be as good of a Major League pitcher if I did. I won't be able to do those things until I retire. If you look inside this box [in my locker], it's filled with stuff. I will continue to take the stuff."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.