Lawton becomes 12th suspended for steroids

NEW YORK -- Former All-Star outfielder Matt Lawton was
suspended Wednesday for a positive steroids test, becoming the 12th
player penalized for violating Major League Baseball's policy.

Lawton, acquired by the Yankees from the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 27
and then left off New York's postseason roster, became a free agent
last Thursday. He would serve a 10-day suspension at the start of
next season.

"I made a terrible and foolish mistake that I will regret for
the rest of my life," Lawton said in a statement that he read over
the telephone to The Associated Press. "I take full responsibility
for my actions and did not appeal my suspension. I apologize to the
fans, the game, my family and all those people that I let down. I
am truly sorry and deeply regret my terrible lapse in judgment."

Lawton said the positive test occurred after he was acquired by
the Yankees but did not answer other questions.

The substance he tested positive for was boldenone, a person
familiar with the tests results said, speaking on condition of
anonymity because drug-test results in baseball are supposed to
remain secret.

"It's a veterinary steroid. I think it's primarily used in
horses," Dr. Gary Wadler, a professor of sports medicine at New
York University and an expert on performance-enhancing drugs.
"It's used like any other anabolic steroid. It's basically

When baseball conducted anonymous survey testing in 2003, there
were five positive tests for boldenone, baseball executive vice
president Rob Manfred said earlier this year. Paralympic
powerlifter Darrell Tyrone Banks was suspended for two years last
November by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency following a positive test
for boldenone.

Wadler said the steroid also was available under the name

An All-Star with Minnesota in 2000 and Cleveland in 2004, Lawton
hit a combined .254 with 13 homers and 53 RBI this season for the
Pittsburgh Pirates, Cubs and Yankees. He turns 34 on Thursday.

With the Yankees, he batted .125 (6-for-48) with two homers and
four RBIs, hitting a key two-run homer in a 2-1 victory over
Baltimore on Sept. 21. Lawton has a .267 career average with 138
homers, 165 steals and 630 RBI in 11 major league seasons.

His positive test was the third announced by the commissioner's
office since the end of the regular season, following those of
Texas pitcher Carlos Almanzar and New York Mets pitcher
Felix Heredia.

Players and owners, under pressure from congressmen, are
attempting to negotiate a new steroids agreement with harsher
penalties. Under legislation proposed Tuesday by Sens. Jim Bunning
and John McCain, a first positive test would result in a two-year

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig proposed in April that an
initial positive for steroids result in a 50-game suspension.