- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 3, 2005

From combined dispatches

Rafael Palmeiro’s positive steroid test was for stanozolol, a powerful anabolic steroid that is not available in dietary supplements, according to a newspaper report.

The New York Times, citing a person in baseball with direct knowledge of the sport’s drug-testing program, reported on its Web site yesterday that Palmeiro tested positive for the drug known by the brand name Winstrol, most notably linked to the Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson of Canada.

The person who said Palmeiro tested positive for stanozolol did not want to be identified because the testing policy prohibits anyone in baseball from disclosing information about test results without authorization, the Times said.

The Baltimore Orioles first baseman was suspended by Major League Baseball for 10 days on Monday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. The highest profiled player to be punished so far, Palmeiro testified before Congress in March that he “never used steroids.”

The test was taken some weeks after Palmeiro testified, meaning he probably is not at risk for perjury, the Times reported, citing a committee staff member who spoke to the newspaper on condition of anonymity because official statements are supposed to come from members of Congress.

Johnson was stripped of his 100-meter gold medal in 1988 after testing positive for stanozolol.

Palmeiro was the seventh player to fall under baseball’s new, tougher steroids policy; Seattle Mariners right-hander Ryan Franklin became the eighth yesterday when he was also suspended 10 days for a violation. Baseball does not release what type of drug a player has tested positive for, and so far none of the eight have spoken openly about details of their violations.

While Palmeiro didn’t deny turning in a positive test, the slugger was adamant that it was an accident.

“When I testified in front of Congress, I know that I was testifying under oath and I told the truth,” he said during a telephone conference call Monday. “Today I am telling the truth again that I did not do this intentionally or knowingly.”

And at least one member of baseball’s management-union medical panel initially found there was a “reasonable basis” for Palmeiro’s claims, as evidenced by the delay in his penalty.

Palmeiro said Monday that he had never intentionally taken steroids, but stanozolol does not come in dietary supplements and is among the most popular steroids on the market. It can be ingested or injected and usually remains in a person’s system for at least a month.

“It’s a mildly strong to strong steroid,” said Dr. Gary Wadler, a professor at New York University who is an expert in sports doping. “Potent is the word I would use.”

Palmeiro, who testified in front of the House Committee on Government Reform in March that he never took steroids, spoke on the telephone yesterday with the committee chairman, Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican, according to Davis’s spokesman, Rob White. Palmeiro said Monday that he tried to call Davis and planned on calling Henry A. Waxman of California, the ranking Democrat on the committee.

“Rafael was able to connect with Chairman Davis late this afternoon and assured him he will cooperate fully and provide his committee with any information it requests,” Palmeiro’s agent, Arn Tellem, said in a statement.

In 2003 and 2004, Major League Baseball reported 128 positive steroid tests, including 74 for the steroid nandrolone (known commercially as Deca-Durabolin) and 37 for stanozolol. But last year, only one positive test was for nandrolone and 11 positive tests were for stanozolol, an indication of a changing trend.

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