August 1, 2005

Palmeiro suspended after failing steroids test

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Baltimore Orioles first baseman
Rafael Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days after testing
positive for steroids, Major League Baseball said Monday.

The 40-year-old Palmeiro, who two weeks ago reached the
3,000 career-hit milestone, denied intentionally ingesting

"I am here to make it very clear that I have never
intentionally used steroids. Never, ever. Period," Palmeiro
said in a statement, echoing his testimony before Congress
earlier this year on the subject.

"I am sure you will ask how I tested positive for a banned
substance," he added. "As I look back, I don't have a specific
answer to give. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to explain to the
arbitrator how the banned substance entered my body.

"The arbitrator did not find that I used a banned substance
intentionally -- in fact, he said he found my testimony to be
compelling -- but he ruled that I could not meet the heavy
burden imposed on players who test positive under the new drug

On July 15, Palmeiro became the fourth major leaguer to
reach the 3,000-hit plateau while hitting at least 500 home
runs. He joined Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray -- all
first ballot Hall of Famers -- in the exclusive club.

"I am truly saddened by today's events," said Orioles owner
Peter Angelos. "I have known Rafael Palmeiro for many years ...
I know from personal experience that his accomplishments are
due to hard work and dedication to the game."

Palmeiro's spotless reputation was questioned earlier this
year when former big leaguer Jose Canseco wrote a book claiming
both players were steroid users when they played for the Texas

However, Palmeiro has always denied the claim.

"I feel terrible that this has happened but I think there
is something to be gained from it," he said Monday.

"If my situation results in the education of current and
future players about the dangers of taking anything without a
prescription from a licensed physician -- that is a positive."

Palmeiro's suspension was to begin immediately.