Bronson Arroyo, a former Boston Red Sox teammate of Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, said he would not be surprised to find his name on a list of 104 ballplayers who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, after he had heard a then-legal supplement he was using was tainted with steroids, the Boston Herald reported.
Arroyo, now with the Cincinnati Reds, told the Herald he does not know if Ortiz or Ramirez, who were identified in a New York Times story as also being on the list of 104, was taking anything. He said his knowledge of what his teammates did ended at the clubhouse door. But he does not believe their accomplishments should be diminished as a result.
"In my mind, I think you have to lump the whole era together," Arroyo said, according to the report. "A lot of people were doing it, a lot weren't. I think pitchers probably gained 3 or 4 mph on their pitches and power hitters got some more power.
"But guys like David and Manny, if they did something, it didn't make them who they were. Did it make them a little better? Probably," Arroyo said, according to the Herald.
Ortiz said on Thursday that he had confirmed through the players' union that he tested positive in 2003. He said the result came as a surprise to him and that he would say more about the subject when he knows more.
Ramirez, who recently served a 50-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy, declined to address The New York Times' report, referring inquiries to the union. Ramirez's specific violation for that ban was never announced, but sources have told ESPN that testing during spring training this year revealed elevated levels of testosterone that had come from an artificial source.
Arroyo, who pitched for the Red Sox from 2003 to 2005, said he took androstenedione, which was banned in 2004, as well as amphetamines, which were banned in 2006, according to the Herald report. He said he gave up taking andro, a steroid precursor, when a rumor spread through baseball that due to lax production standards, some of it was laced with steroids.
Mandatory testing for performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball began in 2004.
"Before 2004, none of us paid any attention to anything we took," he said, according to the Herald. "Now they don't want us to take anything unless it's approved. But back then, who knows what was in stuff? The FDA wasn't regulating stuff, not unless it was killing people or people were dying from it."
Arroyo said he started taking taking andro after 1998, after a season with the Pirates' Double-A affiliate. "Andro made me feel great, I felt like a monster. I felt like I could jump and hit my head on the basketball rim," he said, according to the report.
Arroyo said he is happy the game now has mandatory drug testing, according to the Herald.
"I feel like the game's getting cleared up," he said, according to the report. "Personally, I don't care what people think about what I did. I do what I do."