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Baseball will seek out Matthews

Angels outfielder expected to be summoned soon over his link to a shipment of human growth hormone.

September 13, 2007|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

Baseball officials want to meet with Gary Matthews Jr., seven months after the Angels center fielder was alleged to have been sent a shipment of human growth hormone.

Within the last week, as reports have linked Rick Ankiel, Troy Glaus and Jay Gibbons to orders for steroids and human growth hormone, baseball officials have requested meetings with each player. The reports all follow a national investigation into Internet drug trafficking, led by the Albany County (N.Y.) district attorney.

Matthews, the first major leaguer linked to that investigation, was expected to be summoned by the commissioner's office in the near future, a baseball source said Wednesday. Scott Leventhal, the agent for Matthews, said no meeting has been requested as of Wednesday and would not say how Matthews might respond.

"We'll address that at that time," Leventhal said.

Matthews declined to comment after the Angels' game at Baltimore on Wednesday.

On Feb. 28, reported that, in 2004, Matthews had been sent a shipment of genotropin, a brand of synthetic human growth hormone since alleged by the New York Daily News to have been sent to Ankiel in 2004. Baseball did not ban HGH until 2005, although its use was -- and is -- illegal without a prescription.

On March 14, Matthews issued a statement in which he denied using HGH and he has refused to address whether he ordered or received it.

In the interim, baseball officials quietly tried to arrange a meeting with Matthews. His lawyer, Harold McGuire, told them Matthews would not talk because he could be "the target of a criminal investigation," MLB spokesman Rich Levin said.

McGuire did not return a call. Leventhal said Matthews' statement reflected McGuire's subsequent conclusion that the player was not a target of any investigation.

Heather Orth, spokeswoman for the Albany County district attorney, said Wednesday the targets of that investigation are pharmacists and distributors.

"No athletes are the target," she said via e-mail. "We are unaware of any criminal investigation targeting Gary Matthews Jr."

Said MLB spokesman Pat Courtney: "If that is indeed the case, we will revisit bringing Mr. Matthews in."

Times staff writer Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report.


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