Albert Pujols still angry over being linked to Mitchell Report on steroids

Updated: January 21, 2008, 6:46 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Albert Pujols, angry his name was incorrectly linked to the Mitchell Report on steroids last month, banned a St. Louis television station from participating in a news conference Monday.

Pujols asked Cardinals media relations director Brian Bartow to make a reporter and cameraman from St. Louis Fox affiliate KTVI leave the room where Pujols' news conference was taking place on the final day of the Cardinals' winter warmup.

On Dec. 13, KTVI broadcast an incorrect report, citing information posted on the Web site of New York television station WNBC, that linked Pujols and other players to the Mitchell Report.

When the report was released that day, Pujols' name was not included.

"I know we're in the dark clouds with the steroids," Pujols said. "But now people are going to second-guess my numbers because some guys started something that wasn't the truth."

The KTVI duo watched Monday's news conference from the corner of the room with the camera off and did not participate.

The incorrect broadcast, Pujols told reporters, showed "50 percent of the things you guys write is not true, and I'm glad that happened."

KTVI acting news director Audrey Prywitch had no comment. After the Mitchell Report was released, posted a statement that it "regrets the error and sincerely apologizes for providing the incorrect information."

WNBC spokeswoman Anna Carbonell said Monday the station had "no further comment on this story."

In the wake of the incorrect report, Pujols said there's bound to be skepticism about his impressive career. Every year since making his debut in 2001, he's batted .300 with 30 home runs. Last year, he missed scoring 100 runs for the seventh straight year by one run.

He said he will not take legal action but expressed disappointment that he wasn't given the benefit of the doubt.

The 27-year-old enters 2008 with a .332 average and 282 homers -- numbers he says came about naturally.

"Since 2001, I've been proving myself every year," he said. "How much better can I get? Only God knows. Do I need to cheat in this game to get better? This is a hobby, man. I fear God too much to do stupid things in this game. Cheating on this game, that's not right."

Pujols has been dealing with doubters since shortly after he began his career, first with his age. Throughout the years he said media have tried to goad him into creating controversy.

"I remember from 2001, 'Oh he's not 21," Pujols said. "During the playoffs, they always look for the big names to start things. And now with the steroids I've been getting rocks all over the place, and they keep bouncing off me."

Pujols said he decided against offseason surgery on his right elbow, a trouble spot for several years, because he would have had to miss a significant portion if not all the 2008 season. Pujols still is unable to straighten his arm, but team doctors concluded that because he plays first base, an operation can be postponed.

He said his elbow bothered him the second half of last season, and said if that happens again he wouldn't try to soldier through it.

"If the same problem is happening this year, I don't think I'm to play the whole year the same way," Pujols said. "I sacrificed my body."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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