Thu, May 01, 2008 - Page 19 News List

MLB investigative unit to probe player identity theft, drugs

AP , NEW YORK

Major League Baseball’s new investigative unit is at work on several probes that could lead to disciplinary action while also dealing with the burgeoning business of player identity theft.

The department of investigations, established in January at the recommendation of former senator George Mitchell, already uncovered evidence that Jordan Schafer, the top prospect in the Atlanta Braves’ farm system, used human growth hormone. Schafer was suspended on April 8 for 50 games.

“There are several other investigations in the pipeline,” said Bob DuPuy, MLB’s chief operating officer. “You’ll be reading about them.”

Among the unit’s goals is for DuPuy and commissioner Bud Selig to know about government investigations before they are made public.

“We want to go outside of baseball and want to find out who’s supplying to these kids,” said George Hanna, senior director of investigations. “That’s what we’ll do through a lot of our law-enforcement contacts, just to check who they’re looking at that is supplying to professional athletes.”

Hanna and Dan Mullin, the vice president of investigations, had worked in the security department of the commissioner’s office for several years before the new department was created one month after the release of the Mitchell Report on doping in MLB. Mullin spent 23 years in the New York City Police Department, retiring as a deputy chief. Hanna supervised investigations in the FBI. Their unit has three investigators, all of whom speak Spanish, and two or three more investigators may be added this year.

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