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Friday, December 14, 2007

LoDuca Named in Mitchell Report

Two days. That's the length of time Paul Lo Duca was able to enjoy as a Washington National before finding out his name was plastered all over former U.S. Senator George Mitchell's Report to the Commissioner of Baseball Into the Illegal Use of Steroids and Other Performance Enhancing Substances.

Lo Duca, introduced to the media with much fanfare this past Tuesday, was among more than 80 current or former players alleged as having used PEDs. According to the Report, Lo Duca made "six or more transactions" totaling over $9000, paid for with personal checks that were attached to the Report, from former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski. Radomski provided information for the report as part of his arrangement with federal prosecutors in conjunction with his case involving widespread sales and distribution of PEDs in the 90's. Lo Duca's name, address, and telephone number were in Radomski's address book, seized by federal agents during a search of Radomski's residence in that investigation. Also seized or produced in that matter were the cancelled checks and notes from Lo Duca to Radomski, including a handwritten note on Dodgers stationary that read: "Thanks, call me if you need anything! Paul".

The Report detailed how Lo Duca also funneled more business to Radomski, referring at least four Los Angeles Dodger teammates -- Matt Herges, Adam Riggs, Kevin Brown, and Eric Gagne -- to Radomski for the purchase of PEDs. The report also mentions internal notes from the Dodgers evaluating Lo Duca's performance and trade value, citing "steroids aren't being used anymore on him. Big part of this. Might have some value to trade...Got off the steroids" and implied Lo Duca would "get back on the stuff and try to show you he can have a good year". One of the checks written to Radomski coincided with Lo Duca's trade from Los Angeles to Florida in the summer of 2004.

Lo Duca was offered the opportunity to respond to the allegations in the report by Sen. Mitchell. Like almost all current players named in the Report he declined to speak with Mitchell for his investigation.

Lo Duca is the only current National to be named in the report. Former Nationals named were Nook Logan, Jose Guillen, Mike Stanton and Gary Bennett; none were alleged to have purchased PEDs while with the team.

The Nationals issued this release yesterday afternoon, and have had no further comment on the matter to this point:

"We have just received the Mitchell Report and have not yet had an opportunity to fully review it. It is clear though that, like all Major League clubs, the report includes names of players that have had or currently have an association with the Nats. We will let all comments on this matter come from the Commissioner's office, and we will have no further comment at this time."

BOTTOM LINE: Not good. Lo Duca seems to have been a link between Radomski and many players on the west coast. In his remarks following the issuance of the Report, Commissioner Allan "Bud" Selig stated that MLB would look into disciplining players named in the report "on a case-by-case basis", indicating matters of the "integrity of the game" would be his priority. Lo Duca is on a one-year contract and it would be shocking if Selig were able to investigate and mete out any discipline to Lo Duca while Lo Duca was under contract to the Nationals. Nats fans, like everyone else in America, are left to play jury with the evidence they have before them in the Mitchell Report. And with the players -- and Players Association -- remaining silent, fans have only one interpretation of the facts and evidence presented only by one source.

1 comment:

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