Lawton failed test after taking veterinary steroid

Matt Lawton admitted that he took the veterinary steroid boldenone last season, just before he was suspended for 10 days for violating Major League Baseball's steroids policy.

Lawton told Sports Weekly's Bob Nightengale that he was playing poorly and was hurting, so he turned to steroids.

"I wasn't playing well enough to be on a Little League roster, let alone be on the roster of the New York Yankees," Lawton told Sports Weekly in its current issue. "I just wasn't physically able to do the job. I had never been in the playoff hunt before. So I did something that will always haunt me."

Lawton, who signed Thursday with the Mariners, said that he's never taken amphetamines, but injected the steroid on Sept. 20. The next day, he started in center field and hit a home run in his first at-bat. He said he didn't feel any pain.

He was tested the next day.

"It was such a stupid thing, but I was desperate," Lawton told Sports Weekly. "Maybe it was the pressure of playing in New York, I don't know. I never had the urge to take any of that stuff before, but I was talking to some guys, and they guaranteed it would get the pain out."

Lawton, 34, hit .254 last season while playing for three teams (including the Yankees). He was left off New York's postseason roster after hitting .125 in 21 games for the Yankees. They acquired him from the Cubs. He started the season with Pittsburgh.

"I don't want people to think that everything I did, the good years I had, were steroid-related," Lawton, an All-Star in 2000 and 2004
, told Sports Weekly. "I learned a lot about myself last year, and I'll be better for it.

"Now I'm ready to prove it."