Palmeiro benched on return to Major League Baseball

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Baltimore Orioles baseball fans had a chance to vote for their support of Major League Baseball's (MLB) steroid use and policies with their home game attendance Thursday night. Rafael Palmeiro, back after serving a 10-game suspension for testing positive for stanozolol, was notably not in the starting line-up against the visiting Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Attendance was on the thin side, around 27,000 attended at the 48,262 capacity stadium at Camden Yards.

The Orioles concluded a 3-game sweep of the Rays with tonight's 4-2 win. Rafael Palmeiro watched from the dugout.

Palmeiro, this season's embattled designated hitter and sometimes first baseman, is an Orioles star who in March made finger wagging and emphatic denials of steroid use during his testimony before the House Committee on Government Reform. It was later learned that MLB officials had evidence of his drug use prior to the Palmeiro testimony, but none of that was known until the scandalous aftermath caused by their August 1 suspension of him.

Palmeiro responded to the suspension at a news conference that followed by saying he had no idea how traces of the steroid could be found in his urine, and that somehow he was an unwitting victim. The potent and easily detected steroid is almost always injected with a needle.

The House committee chairman, Tom Davis (R-VA), said Palmeiro voluntarily turned over documents that are being reviewed during their stepped up perjury investigation. MLB said they would turn over their documents today.

The prospects currently look dim for a Palmeiro nomination to baseball's Hall of Fame. Previously, he was virtually assured a place.

In a short meeting with ballpark press reporters before the game, Palmeiro, who earlier insisted he would not talk to the press said, "It's been a tough time for me and my family over the last couple of weeks, and at this time, I've been instructed by my attorneys not to comment on the situation. The time will come soon, hopefully, that I can explain my situation."

A local sportswriter David Steele called on fans to stay home and hit the sport in its money pockets. "Wondering what to do tonight, the official end of Palmeiro's insultingly brief punishment, when he suits up again at Camden Yards? Try this: stay home."

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