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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Matt Williams, Jose Guillen, Ismael Valdez linked to Steroids, hGH from Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center

Three more players were linked to anabolic steroid and human growth hormone purchases through the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center in Florida. Two former players, Matt Williams and Ismael Valdez, along with current player Jose Guillen are said to have purchased performance-enhancing drugs in the article written by Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada of BALCO fame.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle report, Guillen is said to have ordered more than $19,000 worth of drugs from the anti-aging clinic between May 2002 and June 2005. In February 2007, he was quoted by ESPN as saying he had been approached about using steroids earlier in his career but had declined.

"That is something I never considered in my life… You're ruining your whole career. You're ruining your reputation. This really is hurting baseball right now, the image of the game."

However, records reviewed by the Chronicle indicated that Guillen bought four different kinds of anabolic steroids (Nandrolone, Testosterone Cypionate, Testosterone Propionate, Stanozolol) and three different brands of human growth hormone (Somatropin and two unmentioned) over the three year span. Some of the shipments were sent to the Oakland Coliseum while he was a member of the A’s. Guillen also ordered Clomophine and Novarel, both drugs typically used by players using steroids to increase the natural production of testosterone which is curbed while using anabolic steroids.

Long-time San Francisco Giant and one-time Arizona Diamondback, Matt Williams, best know for his run at Roger Maris home run record in 1994 before the strike ended the season, is said to have ordered $16 000 worth of performance-enhancing drugs in 2002 while a member of the Diamondbacks. According to records reviewed by the Chronicle, Williams list includes anabolic steroids (Nandrolone and Testosterone Cypionate) hGH, Clomiphene and Novarel.

In an unusual twist, records indicate that Williams also ordered over $11 000 worth of hGH and syringes in 2004 and 2005 after he retired as a player.

In a phone interview November 5, Williams said a doctor advised him to try growth hormone to heal a serious ankle injury he suffered during spring training in 2002. Williams declined to answer questions about the steroids he reportedly acquired, nor did he comment on the purchases he made after he retired.

As for Ismael Valdez, records indicate that he bought over $11 000 worth of performance-enhancing drugs in 2002 while a member of the Seattle Mariners. Spanning four separate orders, Valdez acquired hGH, Clomophine, Novarel and Arimidex. Arimidex is “prescribed for women with breast cancer, but experts say it is taken by male steroid users to counter side effects such as the growth of breast tissue.” It’s interesting that Valdez ordered three drugs typically used in conjunction with anabolic steroids but no steroids themselves.

It should also be noted that Guillen, Williams and Valdez all had prescriptions written by the same dentist that prescribed human growth hormone to Paul Byrd. The dentist had his license suspended in 2003 for fraud and incompetence.

Below are descriptions of each players’ orders in context as compiled by the Chronicle.

Jose Guillen


On May 1, 2002, while he was playing for the Diamondbacks, Guillen placed his first order with the Florida center, paying by wire transfer for $2,180 worth of growth hormone, the steroids testosterone cypionate and nandrolone and syringes, the records show. The drugs were shipped to a Phoenix address. Guillen struggled with the Diamondbacks in 2002, hitting .229 with just four homers before being released in midseason.

Guillen started the 2003 season with the Cincinnati Reds and was having a career year when he was traded to the playoff-bound A's on July 30. On Sept. 19, 2003, Guillen used a credit card to order $2,083 worth of Genotropin, a brand name for human growth hormone, along with the steroids testosterone propionate and stanozolol and syringes and needles, to be shipped to him "c/o Oakland Athletics-Oakland Coliseum, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, CA 94621," records show.

In 45 games with the A's, Guillen hit .265 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs. During the team's American League Division Series loss to Boston, he batted .455. His season totals were a .311 average, 31 homers and 86 RBIs.

Guillen signed a free-agent contract to play for the Anaheim Angels in 2004. In July, in the midst of a season in which he would hit .294 with 27 home runs and 104 RBIs, records show Guillen placed a $6,000 order for growth hormone, testosterone propionate and syringes. He also ordered two drugs - clomiphene and Novarel - taken by steroid users to stimulate the production of natural testosterone. That shipment, purchased with a credit card, was sent to a house in San Clemente (Orange County) where Guillen lived at the time, records show.

It was not clear from the records whether two other orders for growth hormone and syringes placed by Guillen were actually delivered: a $4,869.50 order placed in September 2003, when he was with the A's; and a $5,000 order placed in June 2005, when he was with the Washington Nationals.

Matt Williams


From 1987 to 1996, Williams was one of the Giants' most popular players. His best year in San Francisco was 1993, when he batted .294 with 38 home runs and 100 RBIs. In 1994, he was on pace to break Roger Maris' single-season home run record, but a labor dispute ended the season in August, and he finished with 43 home runs. After the 1996 season, many Giants fans were irate when he was sent to Cleveland in the Jeff Kent trade. Williams was traded the following year to Arizona and finished his career there in 2003.

During his penultimate season in Arizona, records show, Williams placed two orders with the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center. On March 9, 2002, while the Diamondbacks were in spring training in Tucson, records show he ordered $5,693 worth of testosterone cypionate, growth hormone, clomiphene, Novarel and syringes. On May 8, Williams ordered $6,000 worth of testosterone cypionate, nandrolone, clomiphene, Novarel and syringes, according to the records. The drugs were sent to a Scottsdale business office Williams long has used as a mailing address. Williams' prescriptions were written by the same dentist who prescribed growth hormone for Byrd and Guillen.

Injuries limited Williams to just 60 games in 2002, and he hit .260 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs. He retired the following June after playing in just 43 games. Today he works as a broadcaster on Diamondbacks games. In 2004 and 2005, after he had retired as a player, Williams placed three orders totaling about $11,000 for additional growth hormone and syringes, according to the records.

Since retiring, Williams has publicly questioned the performance-enhancing value of steroids for baseball players. In April 2004, while the BALCO steroids scandal was beginning to unfold, Williams said he hoped Giants outfielder Barry Bonds would be exonerated in the case, and he downplayed the impact the drugs might have on a player's power hitting.

"The other side of that coin is, you still have to hit the ball out of the ballpark. You still have to hit the ball properly," Williams told reporters at the time.

"If you put some foreign substance in your body, you don't all of a sudden learn how to hit homers," he said. "The question is: Are they illegal? Yes. If you get caught doing it, should you be punished? Yes. What that is, I don't know. I had a hard enough time playing third base."

In a phone interview Monday, Williams said that after his 2002 ankle injury, a doctor told him that growth hormone might help him heal. He said he learned about the Florida center from a health magazine and went through a battery of tests before obtaining a prescription for growth hormone in 2002.

"I didn't like the effects it had on my body," said Williams, saying he stopped using the drug that season.

Williams said he had no knowledge that a dentist was prescribing growth hormone for him. He said he wasn't familiar with the drug clomiphene, nor did he comment on the steroids that were ordered. He declined to comment on orders placed with the center after he retired.

Ismael Valdez


Valdez burst onto the major-league scene in 1994, a hot pitching prospect from Mexico who, then 20, was the youngest player in the National League. He pitched six seasons for the Dodgers, before being traded to the Cubs before the 2000 season. Over the following six seasons, he changed teams eight more times.

On Sept. 7, 2002, about a month after he was traded from the Rangers to the Mariners, records indicate Valdez used a credit card to buy nearly $2,500 worth of growth hormone through the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center. The invoice listed the primary shipping address as 1000 Ball Park Way, Arlington, Texas - the Rangers' stadium. A backup address was an apartment in downtown Seattle.

Ten days later, Valdez spent $2,337.50 on the drugs Novarel, Clomid - a brand name for clomiphene - and Arimidex. Arimidex is prescribed for women with breast cancer, but experts say it is taken by male steroid users to counter side effects such as the growth of breast tissue. The drugs were shipped to the Seattle address.

On Oct. 14, two weeks after the season ended, Valdez used a credit card to buy $6,258.60 worth of growth hormone, Novarel and syringes, according to the records.

Finally, on Oct. 22, Valdez placed a $375 order for more Arimidex. The last two orders were shipped to a relative's home in Brownville, Texas, the records show. Valdez's prescriptions were written by the same dentist who prescribed the drugs to Byrd, Guillen and Williams.

 
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