Palmeiro suspended for steroids policy violation|
By Hal Bodley, USA TODAY
Baltimore Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, who testified before Congress on March 17 that he'd never used steroids, was suspended by Commissioner Bud Selig on Monday for violating baseball's joint drug prevention and treatment program. (Related video: Palmeiro testifies before Congress
The terse announcement was made prior to the Orioles 12:35 p.m. ET game at Camden Yards against the Chicago White Sox.
Palmeiro, whose 569 career home runs and 3,018 hits make him a leading candidate for the Hall of Fame five years after he retires, filed a grievance when he learned of the suspension.
But, according to a statement from the players union, the Major League Baseball Arbitration Panel denied the grievance.
"The result reached by the panel is based on the uncontested positive test result and our determination that the evidence in this record is not sufficient for the player to meet his burden of establishing that his positive test result was not due to his fault or negligence," the statement read in part.
Palmeiro, in a statement, apologized to "Major League Baseball, the Baltimore Orioles organization, my teammates, and most of all, my fans. Given my role with the No Tolerance Committee and my relationships with Congress, I feel the need to communicate a serious message to my fellow players and kids everywhere: All of us have to be responsible and exercise extreme care in what we put in our body. I have never intentionally used a banned substance, but I unfortunately wasn't careful enough.
"I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period," he said. "Ultimately, although I never intentionally put a banned substance into my body, the independent arbitrator ruled that I had to be suspended under the terms of the program," he added in the statement.
Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, also in a statement, said he was saddened by Monday's events. "I know from personal experience that his accomplishments are due to hard work and his dedication to the game. I know that Rafael will accept the penalty and that he will return to be a productive member of the Orioles."
Palmeiro, who passed 3,000 hits this season, is the seventh major leaguer suspended under baseball's new drug program that became effective in March. He by far has the highest profile of any of the previous players disciplined.
During the highly publicized March 17 hearing on steroids conducted by the House of Representatives Government Reform Committee, Palmeiro said under oath he'd never used steroids, even though former Texas Rangers teammate Jose Canseco said otherwise in his book, Juiced.
Palmeiro's statement: "Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. My name is Rafael Palmeiro and I am a professional baseball player. I'll be brief in my remarks today. Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids. Period. I don't know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never. The reference to me in Mr. Canseco's book is absolutely false. I am against the use of steroids. I don't think athletes should use steroids and I don't think our kids should use them. That point of view is one, unfortunately, that is not shared by our former colleague, Jose Canseco. Mr. Canseco is an unashamed advocate for increased steroid use by all athletes."
Palmeiro, 40, signed a one-year contract with the Orioles for 2004 that paid him $4.15 million. The Orioles exercised an option for 2005 at $3 million.
The suspension will cost Palmeiro $165,746.
In 103 games this season Palmeiro is batting .280, with 18 homers and 59 runs batted in. Palmeiro had one hit in the Orioles' 9-4 loss to the White Sox in Sunday night's nationally televised game.
Saturday, during a press conference in Cooperstown, N. Y., new members Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg both said Palmiero should — and will — be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
When he collected his 3,000th hit on July 15 off Seattle's Joel Pineiro, Palmeiro joined Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the only players in baseball history with at least 3,000 hits and 500 home runs