Rafael Palmeiro suspended for using steroids

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Monday, August 1, 2005

Oriole player Rafael Palmeiro at bat. of the GNU Free Documentation License GNU image

Baltimore Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, one of only four players in the history of Major League Baseball to amass 500 home runs and 3000 hits, has been suspended for 10 days by MLB for a first violation of its new steroids policy. Palmeiro is the seventh, and by far the highest-profile player, who tested positive for steroids since MLB instituted its new steroids policy in 2005.

In a conference call with reporters, he did not deny testing positive for performance enhancement drugs, but insisted that he had accidentally ingested them, and left the impression that the steroids were in a supplement that he had used.

On March 17, 2005, Palmeiro had testified before a U.S. House hearing on steroids use in sports, opening his testimony by saying: "Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids. Period. I don't know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never." Earlier in 2005, Palmeiro had been named as a steroid user by former major-league star José Canseco in his tell-all autobiography.

It remains to be seen how Palmeiro's positive test will affect his future election to the Hall of Fame. His statistics would normally make him a likely Hall candidate once he becomes eligible for election, five years after retirement. It is also possible that Palmeiro could face perjury charges for lying before Congress, but only if it could be proved that he had used steroids before his Congressional testimony.

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