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Moreno vows resolution

March 05, 2007|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

TEMPE, ARIZ. — Angels owner Arte Moreno said Sunday he would not let the uncertain situation surrounding center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. linger into the regular season.

"It's going to be resolved by opening day, one way or the other. I promise you that," Moreno said.

"I'm not a very happy guy. It should have already been resolved."

Moreno, who signed Matthews to a five-year, $50-million contract in November, would not elaborate on the meaning of "one way or the other."

On Saturday, four days after Matthews' name surfaced in a government investigation into illegal distribution of steroids and human growth hormone, a statement from attorney Robert Shapiro raised the prospect that the situation might not resolve itself soon.

Shapiro said he was "firmly convinced" that Matthews had not broken any laws or baseball rules but that Matthews would not "tell his side of the story" until "all investigations into the matter have been completed." Terry Fahn, a spokesman for Matthews, would not say Sunday what agencies might be investigating, when those probes might be completed or how Shapiro was convinced Matthews had not violated any laws or MLB rules.

The matter, independent of any government investigation, now involves the commissioner's office, the players' union, the Angels and their lawyers, and Matthews' representatives, which include his agent, a lawyer and a public relations firm. Matthews said he "can't say" when the situation might be resolved, deferring to Shapiro.

"I trust him to do his job," Matthews said.

Matthews spoke briefly Sunday about the decision to hire Shapiro, a top criminal defense attorney.

"When your name is mentioned in an investigation, what am I going to do? Check it out myself?" Matthews said. "I'm a baseball player."

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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