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Grimsley story raises doubts

Source says testimony wasn't taped, details shaky

Posted: Tuesday October 3, 2006 11:50AM; Updated: Tuesday October 3, 2006 8:36PM
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Jason Grimsley pitched in 118 games for the Yankees from 1999 through 2000.
Jason Grimsley pitched in 118 games for the Yankees from 1999 through 2000.
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The news that disgraced journeyman relief pitcher Jason Grimsley allegedly named Roger Clemens and four other prominent big-league players as users of performance-enhancing drugs or anabolic steroids grabbed the  headlines for a day or two. But for several valid reasons, this story will not supersede the baseball playoffs and likely will fizzle out.

We can all have our suspicions about which superstars may have taken which drugs, but this reported affidavit -- if accurate -- is nothing more than the alleged hearsay of a drug-using fringe player with a bad reputation for partying hard as a Yankee.

And as opposed to the story of Jose Canseco, who provided believable detailed personal accounts in a book, the supposed proof in this alleged affidavit appears to amount to no more than the supposition of Grimsley, who according to a person close to him is now saying he didn't volunteer names to federal prosecutors or even confirm them.

Grimsley's lawyer, Ed Novak, declined to comment when reached on Monday, and Grimsley didn't pick up the phone at his Scottsdale, Ariz. residence.

While the five players and others named in the Los Angeles Times report -- Clemens, Miguel Tejada, Andy Pettitte, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons -- all have denied their involvement, their case may have been unexpectedly bolstered when San Francisco U.S. attorney Kevin Ryan, who's overseeing the investigation of steroids in baseball, issued a statement saying there were "significant inaccuracies" in the report.

There is also Grimsley's current stance, which bears little resemblance to the affidavit supposedly leaked to the Times, according to a Grimsley confidant. Grimsley said he never provided federal investigators with those five names and that any names were mentioned first by the interrogators. Grimsley is apparently claiming now, at least in private, that he answered that he "didn't know" whether each of the names used performance-enhancing drugs.

What's more, according to Grimsley's friend, there is no tape recording of the conversation in which Grimsley is alleged to have handed over five baseball players. The reason he is not publicly disagreeing with what he purported to have alleged in the affidavit, according to the friend, is that he "doesn't want to get into a pissing match with federal agents."

Even if authorities try to pursue Grimsley or the others alleged to be involved in the report, Grimsley might try to claim that he was coerced. There's always the possibility he just panicked, but there seems no good reason for him to have talked -- even though he'd been caught red-handed receiving a small shipment of HGH, prosecutors not involved in the case say there would be a remote chance for a possession charge against this little-known player and zero likelihood of any jail time even if he refused to cooperate.

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