Bud Selig told Jason Giambi that he'd better cooperate with former Sen. George Mitchell's investigation of steroid use or else. The "else" might be coming.
A high-ranking MLB official who had spoken to Selig told USA Today for a story published Thursday that the commissioner is leaning toward suspending the New York Yankees first baseman. The official was not given permission to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, the newspaper said.
In an interview with USA Today on May 18, Giambi all but admitted he used performance-enhancing drugs.
"I was wrong for doing that stuff," Giambi said. "What we should have done a long time ago was stand up -- players, ownership, everybody -- and said: 'We made a mistake.' Steroids and all of that was a part of history."
After hearing of Giambi's comments, Selig offered the slugger a deal: Talk to Mitchell and "cooperate fully" or you will face disciplinary action. The players union, the commissioner's office and Giambi's representatives have been bargaining since. Giambi is on the disabled list with a foot injury.
"Any admission regarding the use of illegal performance-enhancing substances, no matter how casual, must be taken seriously," Selig said at the beginning of the month. "It is in the best interests of baseball for everyone, including players, to cooperate with Senator Mitchell in his investigation.
"Discipline for wrongdoing is important, but it is also important to create an environment so players can feel free to honestly and completely cooperate with this important investigation."
Giambi told a federal grand jury in December 2003 that he used steroids and human growth hormone, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in December 2004. Before the start of spring training in 2005, the former American League MVP made repeated general apologies at a news conference but never used the word "steroids."
Giambi and his agent, Arn Tellem, have not said whether the player will speak with Mitchell, but Selig said he wants a decision by Tuesday.
Testing positive for steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs warrants a 50-game suspension under MLB's policy; however, Giambi has never tested positive since the plan was implemented.
The New York Daily News spoke to an attorney with experience in baseball labor matters who felt that disciplining a player for saying he committed acts before they were illegal would be difficult.
"It's just a dead argument, legally," he told the paper on condition of anonymity since he deals with the league. "It's either in the basic agreement or it isn't."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.