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Selig takes stand with a gag order

Wire services
Published March 4, 2004

NEW YORK - Bud Selig wants to put the focus back on the field. To do that, the commissioner has an idea: limit talk about steroids.

Selig recently sent a directive to all teams, telling them to decline comment on the BALCO case "specifically" and performance enhancing drugs "generally."

While the memo was not sent to players, some of them liked the move.

"I think it's a good thing," Russ Ortiz, Atlanta's union representative, said. "There's a lot of comments out there. It's not just the players. It's other people, too. But it's all speculation.

"Right now, no one is reporting on baseball. They're reporting on all this other stuff. Let's focus on baseball and let the other stuff take care of itself."

Said Braves manager Bobby Cox: "I've not heard about it. I wish I had gotten that yesterday. I'd rather not address it anymore."

The talk about steroids has swept spring training, with increased speculation and scrutiny over which players might have used them.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Barry Bonds was given the substances by his personal trainer - who got them from the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative.

According to the newspaper, investigators also were told that steroids were given to New York Yankees stars Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield.

Giambi's brother, Jeremy, had little to say about the issue.

"It's just something that's going on," he said at Dodgers camp. "I really can't talk about it. At some point, I will have a comment."

Bonds once again wouldn't answer questions.

ROBINSON TRIBUTE: Jackie Robinson will be honored every April 15, starting with a national celebration at Shea Stadium. Selig announced Jackie Robinson Day, saying "we are further ensuring that the incredible contributions and sacrifices he made - for baseball and society - will not be forgotten." Fenway Park and the new stadiums in Philadelphia and San Diego will be among 13 parks holding games this April 15.

REDS: Former owner Marge Schott was honored as the team flew its pennant at half-staff in Sarasota. Schott, 75, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Cincinnati after a three-week stay for breathing problems. Captain Barry Larkin will represent the club at the funeral Saturday. Schott's 15-year tenure as owner included a World Series championship in 1990 and suspensions for inflammatory comments. She used racial slurs and repeatedly praised Hitler as being "good in the beginning." "She'll be remembered basically as the first lady of baseball," Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench said. "We tend to remember the negative things, but the thing we need to remember is that she was an ardent fan, a passionate owner and a championship winner."

RANGERS: Michael Young, taking over at shortstop for Alex Rodriguez, signed a one-year, $450,000 contract. The Rangers are discussing a multiyear deal for Young, but needed to get a contract settled before the start of Cactus League play. Texas also renewed the $300,000 contract for Laynce Nix, the likely starting centerfielder.

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