Tue, Oct 23, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Indians pitcher owns up to use of growth hormone

AP , BOSTON

Cleveland Indians pitcher Paul Byrd acknowledged using human growth hormone for a medical condition, but claims he never injected the banned drug without a doctor's prescription.

"I have nothing to hide," Byrd said on Sunday about two hours before Game 7 of the American League championship series against the Boston Red Sox. "Everything has been done out in the open."

Byrd, whose win in Game 4 of the ALCS moved the Indians within one victory of the World Series, bought nearly U$25,000 worth of HGH and syringes from 2002-05, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Sunday.

HGH is a prescription drug with muscle-building properties.

Byrd, known for his old-school windup and savvy on the mound, purchased HGH from a Florida anti-aging clinic under investigation by authorities for possible illegal distribution of performance-enhancing drugs, the paper said.

The Chronicle, citing an anonymous law enforcement source, said two of Byrd's prescriptions for HGH were not written by a physician.

Standing in front of a media throng outside the Indians' clubhouse, Byrd said he has a pituitary gland condition that required him to take HGH.

Pressed on when he was diagnosed and the nature of his condition, Byrd declined several times to give any details.

HGH is banned by Major League Baseball and the International Olympic Committee.

"I have never taken any hormones or any drugs not prescribed to me," Byrd said.

Byrd claims baseball officials have known that he's been taking the drug, which he said he has stored in clubhouse refrigerators.

The 12-year veteran said he had been tempted to abuse the performance-enhancing drug but resisted.

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