Rockies take notice of Mitchell Report
Thirteen with Colorado ties named in drug use investigation
DENVER -- Two current members of the Rockies, relief pitcher Matt Herges and first-base coach Glenallen Hill, were named in the Mitchell Report concerning performance-enhancing substances in Major League Baseball.
Former Sen. George Mitchell released the report at a news conference Thursday in New York.
The passages about Herges and Hill detailed incidents that took place before both were associated with the club. Herges is alleged to have purchased human growth hormone (HGH) in 2005, possibly earlier. He joined the Rockies in 2007 and recently signed a one-year contract with an optional second year that will pay him $2.25 million in 2008.
Hill, who became the Rockies' first-base coach in 2007, is alleged to have purchased performance-enhancing drugs in 2001, his final season as a player.
These reports are based largely on statements by former Mets clubhouse employee Kirk Radomski, who has signed a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office under which he has plead guilty to one count of distribution of anabolic steroids and one count of money laundering.
Herges did not respond to a request from the Mitchell investigation to be interviewed. He could not be reached by phone on Thursday. Hill, as a club employee, was required to participate in the investigation.
The Rockies released a statement Thursday afternoon, saying the organization supports the efforts to rid baseball of performance-enhancing substances.
"Obviously, we were very disappointed to learn of the depth and breadth of the findings of Senator George Mitchell's report on the alleged illegal use of steroids and other performance-enhancing substances in baseball, including references to alleged use by former members of our team, as well as one current player and one current member of our coaching staff," the statement read.
"As an organization, we have fully supported the investigation initiated by Commissioner Bud Selig and conducted by Senator Mitchell. Our organization remains committed to eliminating the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing substances from the game."
The statement did not address whether the club planned to discipline Herges or Hill. Selig said he would consider discipline for those throughout baseball mentioned in the report "on a case-by-case basis."
In addition to Herges and Hill, Radomski mentioned involvement with former Rockies pitcher Denny Neagle and former second baseman Mike Lansing, as well as former home clubhouse attendant Dan McGinn while all were involved with the Rockies. Other former Rockies whose names show up in the report are Bobby Estalella, Darren Holmes, Larry Bigbie, Jack Cust, Gregg Zaun, Ron Villone, Kent Mercker and Gary Bennett.
The names of all but Estalella were provided in interviews with Radomski and/or former Yankees and Blue Jays strength and conditioning coach Brian McNamee, as well as an interview with Bigbie. Estalella was mentioned as part of the investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO).
Mitchell's report included copies of checks or mail service items from Herges, Hill, Neagle, Lansing, McGinn, Mercker, Zaun, Bigbie and Bennett.
The report said Herges received Radomski's name from Paul Lo Duca, a teammate of his with the Dodgers from 1999-2001. Herges' first contact with Radomski was possibly as early as 2004 and his last purchase was 2005, according to the information Radomski provided the Mitchell investigation.
Radomski told investigators that Herges called for a final time shortly after a federal search warrant was conducted at Radomski's home and he had begun cooperating with the investigation. The report said Radomski told Herges he "was dry right now," so no HGH was supplied.
Of those connected with the Rockies, only Hill spoke with investigators associated with the Mitchell Report.
The accounts of Hill and Radomski differ on whether Hill actually used the substances he acquired.
According to the report, Radomski said Hill came to him because he was dissatisfied with the performance of the HGH he had been taking, and was satisfied with the substances he obtained in 2001 -- his final season as a player -- through Radomski's connections. However, Hill told investigators he never used performance-enhancing substances and forgot he had purchased the drugs through Radomski until Spring Training 2007, when he was unpacking from a move and discovered them.
Several high-profile, superstar-caliber players were among those named in the Mitchell Report, the product of a 21-month, multimillion dollar investigation that could shape decisions, prompt punitive actions against active players and usher in the next era of the sport.
Free agent Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees, Miguel Tejada of the Houston Astros, Eric Gagne of the Milwaukee Brewers and Lo Duca of the Washington Nationals were among the most prominent former and current All-Stars to be mentioned in the lengthy report, which spans 311 pages, plus multiple exhibits, including evidence of signed checks, handwritten notes and shipping receipts.
The entire report is available for viewing here at MLB.com in PDF format. It will be presented in a searchable, clickable version as soon as the 311 pages of content can be converted appropriately.
While the report detailed drug use in baseball by naming those accused, the report also contained 19 separate recommendations for the sport to move forward from this point, proceeding after a culture of steroids and performance enhancement grew exponentially in the late 1990s.
Mitchell's report named both Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association in assigning blame, charging leadership -- from the Commissioner to club owners and general managers -- for allowing the issue to proliferate.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.