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Hernandez, Leonard, Berra Dispute Smith Allegations

July 30, 1987|Associated Press

NEW YORK — Keith Hernandez of the New York Mets, Jeffrey Leonard of the San Francisco Giants and former major league infielder Dale Berra disputed allegations by Lonnie Smith of the Kansas City Royals that baseball's crackdown on drugs is "a joke."

Hernandez, Leonard, Berra and Smith were among seven players disciplined by Commissioner Peter Ueberroth in February 1986 for their involvement with drugs.

To avoid a one-year suspension, each player agreed to donate 10% of his 1986 base salary to drug prevention programs, submit to random drug testing and contribute 100 hours of drug-related community service.

Smith told the Kansas City Times that he was supposed to be tested for drugs six to eight times a year but has yet to be tested in 1987. He also said he still owes about half of his $85,000 fine, and that no one from the commissioner's office verified that he had done his 100 hours of community service.

Hernandez said, however, that the commissioner's office has enforced his penalty.

"All I can do is speak for myself," he said Wednesday. "The commissioner's office has made sure that I'm putting in my (community) service hours. I can't speak for (Smith), but I'm tested three times a year."

Leonard said Ueberroth's office has kept tabs on him.

"He's kept up with my money," Leonard said in Los Angeles. "He's kept up with my hours. In fact, there were a few papers missing right after spring training, and on those papers were a few hours (of documented community service). And he was talking suspension. So, as far as I'm concerned, he's kept up with my situation.

"It could be the facts with him (Smith), but that does not speak for the rest of us. It could be just an individual thing with him."

Leonard also said he has been tested several times this season, including Tuesday, adding that "it's somewhat of a pain, but if you stay clean, you don't worry about it."

Berra, who plays for Tucson in the Pacific Coast League, said he has paid his fines and done his community service. "And I'm being tested as often as they like," he said. "My dues were substantial."

Ueberroth also penalized Joaquin Andujar, Enos Cabell and Dave Parker. Andujar, who pitches for the Oakland Athletics, had no comment concerning Smith's remarks. Cabell no longer plays major league baseball, and Parker was not immediately available for comment.

Rich Levin, a spokesman for the commissioner's office, said Wednesday that all seven players disciplined in 1986 have paid their fines and completed their community service, or are close to doing so. The drug testing is supposed to continue throughout their major league careers.

In the Kansas City Times story, Smith said he saw minor league players smoke marijuana and use amphetamines while he was playing for Omaha of the American Assn. earlier this season.

Omaha Manager John Wathan said he had no knowledge of any American Assn. players using illegal drugs.

"It would really surprise me if they did, with all that's happened in baseball," he said.

During batting practice at Yankee Stadium Wednesday, where the Royals played the Yankees, Smith declined to elaborate on his allegations.

"Enough has been said already," he said.

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