Mitchell Report hits home

MIKE RUTSEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:18 AM ET

The Blue Jays received collateral damage in the wake of former U.S. senator George Mitchell's bombshell report.

Following a 20-month investigation into baseball and steroids headed by Mitchell, the former U.S. senate majority leader, a portion of baseball's dirty little secret was peeled back and placed on view yesterday afternoon.

Along with the names of superstars such as former Blue Jays ace Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Andy Pettitte and Canada's Eric Gagne, two current members of the Jays -- third baseman Troy Glaus and catcher Gregg Zaun -- were linked to steroid and performance enhancing drugs use in the report.

Seven other players who played for the Jays in past years -- outfielders Jose Canseco and Glenallen Hill, catchers Bobby Estallela and Benito Santiago, infielders David Segui and Howie Clark and reliever Scott Schoeneweis -- were also among the 89 players who were named.

While Glaus was fingered in September for having steroids shipped to a house he owned, Zaun is a new casualty and the usually outspoken catcher yesterday did not return phone calls.

Kirk Radomski, one of the key witnesses -- or "sewer rats," depending on your point of view -- is a former batboy, equipment manager and clubhouse attendant with the New York Mets. Among the players he supplied steroids to was Zaun, back in 2001 when he played for Kansas City.

Glaus, meanwhile, received a pass from Major League Baseball last week when it announced he would not be suspended, due to insufficient evidence.

Paul Godfrey the Jays president and CEO, said he spoke with both Glaus and Zaun yesterday.

Zaun did issue a quote through the team later last night, saying: "I am stunned by the allegations set forth in Senator Mitchell's report. I emphatically deny these allegations but am not prepared to comment further at this time."

Godfrey stressed that it is important to have better testing and the "concern is about going forward or this dark cloud will continue to play havoc with the game."

He also said he feels accurate HGH testing is a must.

"We need to find a way to correct the Human Growth Hormone problem," he said. "We are shutting our eyes to that area and everybody knows it."

Mitchell's report, meanwhile, stressed that there was plenty of blame to go around as he charged both Major League Baseball and the Players Association with lack of leadership for allowing the problem to grow.

"Everyone involved in baseball shares responsibility," Mitchell said. "Commissioners, club officials, the Players' Association and players. There was a collective failure to recognize the problem as it emerged and to deal with it early on."

The report also expressed concern over the ramifications of the Steroid Era.

"The illegal use of performance enhancing substances poses a serious threat to the integrity of the game," Mitchell said.

"Widespread use by players of such substances unfairly disadvantages the honest athletes who refuse to use them and raises questions about the validity of baseball records."

Both commissioner Bud Selig and the Players Association later played some defence. While Mitchell was not in favour of punishing past deeds, Selig left that avenue open.

"Sen. Mitchell acknowledges in his report that the ultimate decisions on discipline rest with the commissioner and he is correct," Selig said. "Discipline of players and others identified in the report will be determined on a case-by-case basis. If warranted, those decisions will be made swiftly and I, of course, will give thorough consideration to Sen. Mitchell's views on the subject."

Where baseball goes from here is unclear.

"His report is a call to action," Selig stressed.

Action that many believe is too little, too late.


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