PHOENIX -- All-Star shortstop Miguel Tejada said on Sunday that he never tipped pitches to his Dominican contemporaries on opposing teams, not as a member of the A's, Orioles or Astros, his current employer. "I've never tipped pitches," Tejada told MLB.com before he was given a rare off-day from the starting lineup on Sunday as the Astros closed their three-game series at Chase Field. "I love this game and that's not the way I play it. I'm a proud player. I would never do such a thing. It's tough to get a hit. And for me to tip pitches to anybody, that's crazy. I play for my team." Tejada's comments came in response to an article published in the New York Times on Sunday stating that some teammates on his 2001 A's suspected the now 13-year veteran of tipping pitches to fellow Dominicans on other clubs, particularly in lopsided games.
The suspicions caused such tension that then manager Art Howe had a team meeting to air the complaints, laid out by Jason Giambi, the team leader. "It really shocked me to the point of disbelief," Tim Hudson, then a young pitcher for the A's and now with the Braves, told the Times. "But I figured, if that's an issue where we need to clear the air a bit, then we need to clear the air a little bit. "That's the ultimate betrayal from a teammate. You hope it doesn't happen. You hope that your sense of team with your players comes before any sort of friendship with somebody on another team. Winning of the game should come first and foremost. Does it go on? I would hope that it doesn't. That's not to say that it hasn't happened. But who's to know?" The Times said certain players started to wonder when in May 2001, Tejada and his close friend Tony Batista -- then with the Blue Jays -- each had a terrific three-game series. Batista was 6-for-13 with a home run and five RBIs, while Tejada was 4-for-10 with nine RBIs, including a home run in each game. Tejada denied it at the time and denied it in the report, saying, "If my brother was on the other team, I would never help him." Johnny Damon, then with the A's and now with the Yankees, explained it as Tejada inadvertently tipping pitches by moving around the shortstop position. "Miggy was telling guys there was no way he would be doing it," Damon said. "I think what we concluded was that the hitters were seeing him move on certain pitches. That happens, you'll see a young player move closer to the hole on a fastball away, you'll see him creep a little toward the hole. I think that's what it all came down to, Miggy not being able to hide the extra steps. But it seemed like all the Dominican guys were killing us." Tejada has been the center of controversy in recent years. He was named in the 2007 Mitchell Report as a player having bought human growth hormone and steroids as a member of the Orioles. The report stood in dramatic contrast to Tejada's 2005 testimony to Congress in which he said he had never used performance-enhancing drugs. Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to misleading Congress. Tejada said on Sunday that he's used to all the comments made about his character and the way he plays. "What can I say? There's so many comments made about me lately I don't pay any attention to it," Tejada said. "When they asked me about it I told them I never tipped pitches. I think it is some guys who played with me on the A's who are jealous. Why am I going to tip pitches? Who am I going to tip pitches to?"
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.