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December 15, 2007

Andy Pettitte's Admission Of Using HGH

Andy Pettitte's statement tonight, via the AP:

Text of Andy Pettitte's statement Saturday issued through agent Randy Hendricks:

First, I would like to say that contrary to media reports, I have never used steroids. I have no idea why the media would say that I have used steroids, but they have done so repeatedly. This is hurtful to me and my family.

In 2002 I was injured. I had heard that human growth hormone could promote faster healing for my elbow. I felt an obligation to get back to my team as soon as possible. For this reason, and only this reason, for two days I tried human growth hormone. Though it was not against baseball rules, I was not comfortable with what I was doing, so I stopped. This is it - two days out of my life; two days out of my entire career, when I was injured and on the disabled list.

If what I did was an error in judgment on my part, I apologize. I accept responsibility for those two days. Everything else written or said about me knowingly using illegal drugs is nonsense, wrong and hurtful. I have the utmost respect for baseball and have always tried to live my life in a way that would be honorable. I wasn't looking for an edge; I was looking to heal.

If I have let down people that care about me, I am sorry, but I hope that you will listen to me carefully and understand that two days of perhaps bad judgment should not ruin a lifetime of hard work and dedication. I have tried to do things the right way my entire life, and, again, ask that you put those two days in the proper context. People that know me will know that what I say is true.

The Yankees on this, via their site:

"Late this afternoon Andy Pettitte advised us that he would be making a public statement. We support his coming forward."

O.K., Pettitte admits to surreptitiously using a performance enhancing drug (and, yes, attempting to rehab quicker is attempting to enhance performance) in 2002. And, for sure, if not for the Mitchell Report, Andy would have never fessed up to this - at least not now.

Also, for what it's worth, after coming off the D.L. in 2002, Pettitte went 12-4 in 19 starts with an ERA of 3.29. So, you have to accept the cries from some that want to suggest his 2002 season was aided by the use of HGH - albeit, as Andy claims, just a few injections. Note that I said "accept the cries" and not "accept the fact" - meaning I just saying that you have to give people the right to wonder about his 2002 numbers...given Pettitte's admission...and I'm not saying, for fact, that the HGH helped him.

Granted, Pettitte should have used better judgment at that time. Even without baseball having a policy on HGH in 2002, the fact that Andy was doing this behind closed doors and not through the team, and, given that the HGH was obtained illegally, Pettitte was not looking at the entire big picture when he elected to use the HGH.

Still, you have to give Pettitte some respect for confessing tonight - as he easily could have played the "Not true!" or "I didn't know what it was then!" card that just about everyone else likes to play when pressed into this spot.

Hey, at the end of the day, this is what it's going to come down to:

If you're a fan of Andy Pettitte, you're going to look at this whole thing now and say "I forgive him." And, if you're not a Pettitte fan, or, if you're someone who doesn't like the Yankees, you're going to look at this all now and say (something like) "He's a liar and a cheat."

And, in reality, all the facts, explanations, etc., related to this case don't really matter - because you were probably dead-ready to either forgive Pettitte or stone him...way before all this came to the surface.

Me? I like the guy. So, sure, I'm going to forgive him. Is that fair? Is that being rational? Nope - I must confess that it is not fair or rational. But, last time I checked, when it comes to rooting for a baseball player or team, there's no requirement that you have to apply fairness or rationality to the process.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at December 15, 2007 10:28 PM


What is the difference between getting a cortisone shot and getting HGH? If HGH is more effective at speeding healing and recovery time for injury, why would that be illegal? Especially if it is used at the time the player is on the DL and it stops after the player returns and is no longer on the DL or injured.

I feel Pettitte has nothing to apologize for, especially since it wasn't illegal at the time he was taking it.

Posted by: bobtaco [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 15, 2007 11:34 PM

I think the more interesting question is whether or not Pettitte would have gone the HGH route but for the influence of Clemens.

Posted by: Rich [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 16, 2007 12:23 AM

HGH must be taken almost daily over a long period of time to be effective. Taking it a couple of times over a ten day period like Pettitte claims would have no effect in helping him heal faster or his performance over the course of the season.

As for the difference between cortisone and HGH, HGH is illegal unless prescribed for specific growth hormone deficiencies,and against the rules of MLB's drug policy dating back to 1971.

Posted by: Rich M [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 16, 2007 12:28 AM

Keep in mind that HGH was essentially treated the same as street drugs like cocaine in that drug policy. But I have to agree with Steve's post, I like Andy so I've been looking for reasons to let it slide and the fact that he issued this statement has made it pretty easy to do so.

As far as Clemens, well, I've been someone who could empathize with Barry Bonds' reasons for usage, so I'm an easy mark. Bonds saw Sosa and McGwire using and setting records and being adored for doing so, and decided to join in. Was it right? No. Was it better to go the Ken Griffey or Frank Thomas route, and suffer through some down years but still putting up Hall of Fame career numbers. Absolutely, and those two guys, among others, can hold their heads up high at the end of the day. The verdict is out on Clemens' ability to hold his head high right now.

Posted by: JeremyM [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 16, 2007 12:44 AM

Andy's been a favorite of mine since he came up. And I admire that he acknowleged use of HGH and didn't issue a statement similar to Clemens. But, I wish he just said he did try HGH, he screwed up and he's sorry he disappointed us. Instead the statement qualifies and negates its point by using phrases such as "If what I did was an error in judgment...", "If I have let down people that care about me,..."

Yeah it WAS an error in judgement and OF course you let us down. No ifs about it.

Posted by: redbug [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 16, 2007 11:42 AM

And, in reality, all the facts, explanations, etc., related to this case don't really matter - because you were probably dead-ready to either forgive Pettitte or stone him...way before all this came to the surface.
Exactly. And this argument could be extended to other players and maybe PED's in general...

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 16, 2007 02:10 PM