Wright says good friend Lo Duca deserves penalty if Mitchell report true

David Wright's feelings about players' use of peformance-enhancing drugs are firm -- even when it comes to good friend Paul Lo Duca's connection to the Mitchell report.

The New York Mets third baseman said Wednesday that his former teammate deserves "a harsh penalty" if allegations that Lo Duca used steroids or human growth hormone are proved true.

Wright, on Long Island for a charity event at a Ronald McDonald House, said he has been in touch with Lo Duca, who signed with the Washington Nationals during the winter after the Mets showed no interest in keeping the catcher.

But Wright has not brought up with him the Mitchell report, or the allegations within. Lo Duca is named in the report for allegedly receiving and using human growth hormone and steroids in the early 1990s, while he was with the Dodgers. The report included photocopies of checks and notes allegedly written by Lo Duca to Kirk Radomski, the former Mets clubhouse attendant who is a key figure awaiting sentencing in the steroids investigation by federal authorities.

"I'd like to think maybe there's some fabrication, maybe it [the Mitchell report] is not all true," Wright said to the New York City-area media attending the event. "But I've said from day one, whether it's my best friend in the game or whoever, that if they get caught, if they fail a drug test, if there's substantial evidence they used steroids, there should be a harsh penalty.

"He's a guy I'd go to battle for any day. But when you're talking about steroids, you're talking about something that's illegal. No matter how close a friend, I can't condone steroids."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.