The Mitchell Report Revisited, Part XIII
Okay, this is it – the final part of our 13,731-word tome on the Mitchell Report, nearly a year later. We’ve done our best to give you full updates on all the parties mentioned in this report, but damn, it will be fine to get on to something else baseball related after this has kept me occupied since September 6. The rest of this series is here: Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI and XII.
Byrd was another player that’s name was dragged out by the media as a suspected customer once the Signature Pharmacy raid was made public. In its October 21, 2007 edition, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Byrd had spent nearly $25,000 on HGH and syringes from the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center. The Chronicle alleged that Byrd had engaged in 13 transactions between August 2002 and January 2005. In response to the article, Byrd admitted having taken HGH, but he said it was for the treatment of his pituitary gland. He added that he had never taken anything that wasn’t prescribed to him by a doctor, but according to the Chronicle, two of Byrd’s prescriptions had been written by a dentist in Florida, who had his license suspended in 2003. Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaah. That doesn’t sound too shady. Byrd said that both the Indians (his team at the time) and MLB knew he had been dealing with a pituitary gland issue for a while, but Rob Manfred of the Commissioner’s Office said that baseball had never given Byrd – or any other player, for that matter – an exemption to take HGH for therapeutic reasons. George Mitchell wrote that know one in his staff had any prior knowledge that Byrd may have been a juicer. Byrd’s best season was his rookie year, when he pitched 22 IP out of the Mets’ pen in 1995 and went 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA and 26 strikeouts. This “juicy” Byrd is still kicking around, having split this season between the Tribe and the BoSox, enduring a middling season of 11-12 with a 4.60 ERA.
Last December, Guillen got slapped with a 15-game suspension for violating the MLB drug program, but the penalty was later rescinded. Guillen’s name was first introduced as a possible juicer in the wake of the Signature Pharmacy busts. In its November 6, 2007 edition, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that Guillen had bought HGH, testosterone and other ‘roids through the infamous Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center over a three-year period between 2002 and 2004, and possibly into 2005 as well. The article stressed that based on the records the reporter looked at, it was impossible to verify if the products Guillen ostensibly ordered had ever been shipped to him. Further, the Chronicle alleged that some of Guillen’s orders were from a prescription written by the famous dentist who also prescribed HGH for Byrd. Mitchell wrote that no one on his staff had previous knowledge about Guillen’s drug use. His best season came in 2003, when he hit .311 with 31 homers and 86 RBI in 136 games and 484 at bats split between the Reds and the A’s. Guillen struggled with the Royals this season, hitting just .264 with only 20 home runs.
Turnbow had the honour of being the first MLB player to test positive for steroids, getting nailed in 2003 during training camp for the U.S. Olympic Team. He got slapped with a two-year ban from international competition, but he didn’t face any discipline from MLB because what he tested positive for – androstenedione – was not prohibited by the majors at the time. Turnbow’s best full season was in 2005, when he went 7-1 with 39 saves and a 1.74 ERA, pitching 69 games out of the Brewer pen. He hasn’t come close to duplicating that season since, actually getting farmed out this season before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.
Bones was involved in one of the early discoveries of steroids. Back in June of 2000, when the journeyman was pitching for Florida, a Marlins clubhouse attendant found a paper bag with over two dozen syringes and six vials of medication in Bones’s locker. The attendant brought this to the club’s attention, but when Bones requested its return, the bag filled with several types of steroids and handwritten instructions were given back to him. When the Mitchell Report was compiled, Bones was working in the Mets’ minor league organization, so had to speak to Mitchell. He said that he had been self-administering steroids and painkillers based on the prescription of a doctor in his hometown in Puerto Rico. At the time, he was dealing with a degenerative hip condition that ultimately caused him to retire. The incident fell into the lap of Dave Dombrowki, the Marlins GM at the time, and he informed the Commissioner’s Office, who told him they “would take it from here.” Bones said several weeks later, he was asked by the Player’s Association to attend a meeting with a couple of doctors who went over the pros and cons of using steroids and wanted to know if everything was okay in Bones’s personal life. Bones assured them everything was fine, and the doctors never actually performed any physical examinations of him, but he was subjected to a urine test a few months later. He said he never heard the results of the test, so assumed he did not test positive. That was that end of that episode, although it was moot once Bones retired after the 2001 season. His best season came in 1998 out of the KC bullpen, when he went 2-2 with one save and three holds while recording a 3.04 ERA. Despite his mediocrity, Bones stuck around for 11 years, pitching in 375 games (164 starts) and going 63-82 with one save and a lifetime ERA of 4.85.
Stone was one of the five minor league players who learned about steroids from Todd Seyler, the strength and conditioning coach for the Albuquerque Dukes between 1999 and 2000, at the time a Dodgers’ affiliate. Reportedly, Stone gave money to Matt Herges to buy steroids for the group of players. Before a game in July 1999, Seyler and the five met at Stone’s apartment (Seyler lived in the same complex) and Herges brought the steroids with him. Seyler says he watched them all inject themselves, Stone sticking himself in the thigh with a syringe filled with Deca-Durabolin. This began a six-week workout cycle, but Seyler said he never saw any of the players spike up after that. He did, however, continue to talk to them and based on this, he said he believed they all continued to juice up. Stone never responded to an interview request. His most successful season was as a rookie in 2001, when he recorded a 2.35 ERA in six games with the Astros. He last appeared in the majors in 2007, and this season he pitched very briefly at Triple-A Louisville, getting hammered there (and not in a good way).