The Washington Times - February 10, 2009, 03:55PM

Astros shortstop Miguel Tejada has been under a cloud of suspicion regarding steroid use ever since former Orioles teammate and 500-home run club member Rafael Palmeiro blamed a positive steroid test on a B-12 shot he said Tejada gave him, and his inclusion in the Mitchell Report certainly didn’t help matters. Now, just one day after the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez became the biggest-name player in baseball history to come clean about his involvement with performance-enhancing drugs, Tejada has learned that he’ll face charges for failing to do so himself.

According to the Washington Post, Tejada has been charged with lying to congressional investigators who interviewed him about steroid use in baseball at a Baltimore hotel on Aug. 26, 2005. Interestingly, the misdemeanor charge of making misrepresentations - which came in a criminal information, a document the Post says “can be filed only with the defendant’s consent and usually signals a plea deal is near” - does not apply to anything Tejada may have said about his own alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. Instead, the charges are related to statements Tejada made about conversations he had with an unnamed teammate easily identifiable through the Mitchell Report as former Oakland A’s player Adam Piatt. Prosecutors allege Tejada bought human growth hormone from Piatt in 2003.

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Tejada - a five-time All-Star, and the 2002 American League MVP - is scheduled to appear Wednesday at U.S. District Court in Washington, and ESPN has reported that he is expected to plead guilty to the charges. He faces up to a year in jail if convicted, but, according to the Post, “advisory sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of probation to six months behind bars.” In other words, it’s possible Tejada will have to miss part of the 2009 season as a result of these charges. Adjust your fantasy baseball draft sheets accordingly.

Tejada would be wise to follow A-Rod’s lead and offer an admission and an apology before he walks into court Wednesday morning. Just a day after he admitted using performance-enhancing drugs in an interview with ESPN’s Peter Gammons, it’s obvious A-Rod has a much clearer path ahead of him than Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, both of whom have steadfastly denied using performance-enhancing drugs in spite of evidence to the contrary. Bonds is scheduled to begin trial for perjury and obstruction of justice in March, and Clemens is currently the subject of a federal investigation. A-Rod, on the other hand, is headed to spring training later this month. He’ll take a beating from the press and the fans this season, but that’s a whole lot better than going to jail.

Jay LeBlanc is an assistant news editor at The Washington Times. He can be reached at jleblanc@washingtontimes.com.