Commissioner Bud Selig is pleased that Mark McGwire is returning to Major League Baseball as the hitting coach with the St. Louis Cardinals, despite speculation linking McGwire to performance-enhancing drug use, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Selig said he was "delighted that Mark's coming back to the game," according to the report.
"I have no misgivings about this at all," Selig said, according to the report. "Mark McGwire is a very, very fine man and the Cardinals are to be applauded."
McGwire was fingered by former Oakland Athletics teammate Jose Canseco, in Canseco's book "Juiced," as having used performance-enhancing drugs. McGwire famously refused to answer questions about steroid use during a March 2005 congressional hearing, saying he wasn't there to talk about the past, and has remained largely out of the public eye since his retirement following the 2001 season.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has been among McGwire's staunchest defenders and the team has repeatedly invited him to attend spring training as a guest hitting instructor. While McGwire had declined those offers, he has privately tutored several major league hitters during the offseason -- including Cardinals free agent outfielder Matt Holliday.
Selig said he was glad La Russa was persistent in getting McGwire back into the game.
"I give Tony La Russa a lot of credit and [Cardinals chairman] Bill DeWitt a lot of credit for making this happen," he said, according to the report. "I was -- and am -- very supportive of their decision."
But reaction to the hiring was not solely positive. On Monday, retired FBI agent Greg Stejskal, who led the landmark "Operation Equine" steroid investigation, questioned the move, saying McGwire had not visibly spoken out against steroid use or shown remorse, according to the New York Daily News.
"It's basically rewarding a guy who hasn't stood up and taken a stand against this stuff," Stejskal said, according to the report. "There's been no mea culpa, and instead he became a recluse. It reminds me of a passage from Proverbs: 'The wicked flee where no man pursueth.' "
Stejskal also claimed investigators had information linking McGwire to steroid use in the early 1990s, according to the report.
"We had information, after Operation Equine had finished, that we believed to be credible info that McGwire did in fact use steroids," Stejskal said, according to the report. "And then you look at the physical changes. Based on a certain amount of expertise, his physical development would indicate steroid use."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.