<
>

Pujols reacts upon hearing name on rumored list

The St. Louis Cardinals experienced a gamut of emotions Thursday when a rumored list of names that began circulating before the official release of the Mitchell report included former NL MVP Albert Pujols.

Pujols was angered to hear his name mistakenly linked to the report. WNBC-TV in New York, which posted the rumored list on its Web site, apologized for "for providing the incorrect information."

When former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell's report on performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball was released at 2 p.m. ET Thursday, Pujols' name was not among the 86 current and former players listed.

On Thursday evening, Pujols' agents issued a statement on his behalf.

"It has come to my attention that several national and local news outlets have published false reports that associated my name with the Mitchell Report. I have never disrespected, nor cheated the game of baseball and knew without a doubt that my name would not be mentioned in the official investigation," Pujols statement read. "I would like to express how upset and disappointed I am over the reckless reporting that took place this morning. It has caused me and my family a lot of senseless aggravation due to their inaccurate information.

"What concerns me, is the effect this has had on my family and that my character and values have now been questioned due to the media's lack of accuracy in their reporting. I have never had a problem with the media when they do their job correctly, whether it is positive or negative -- just as long as they report truthfully.

"I would like to thank my fans for their continued support and never doubting my integrity. God has blessed me and allowed me to play a game that I would never take for granted."

On its Web site, WNBC ran a "correction and clarification."

"I didn't think it was true," Cardinals team president Mark Lamping said, according to MLB.com. "I'm glad I was right. And my thought at the time was how unfair it was to Albert, Dede [Pujols' wife] and his family that his name got thrown out in an erroneous way."

New York Yankees center fieler Johnny Damon's,name was also incorrectly included on the WNBC list, and he told the New York Post that it made him furious.

"I woke up and my brother is telling me there are reporters at my father's house," Damon said, according to the Post. "My dad told them, 'My son isn't a liar, my son doesn't lie.'"

"I walk around with my shirt off. If I had anything to hide I wouldn't do that. I really don't know what to say," Damon said, according to the newspaper. "I asked my agent about legal action, but he said it wasn't worth it. Maybe the president [of NBC] will write me a nice letter."