Williams acknowledges HGH use

Carson High graduate Matt Williams has acknowledge he bought human growth hormone, also known as HGH, in 2002 to treat an ankle injury, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in its Tuesday edition.

Williams was among three Major League baseball players along with Jose Guillen and Ismael Valdez who bought drugs from a troubled Florida anti-aging clinic, business records show, the Chronicle reported.

Williams, a 1983 CHS graduate, bought $11,600 worth of growth hormone, steroids and other drugs in 2002 when he was playing with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to the records. In a phone interview with the Chronicle on Monday, Williams said a doctor advised him to try growth hormone to heal a serious ankle injury he suffered during spring training in 2002.

The Chronicle reported that records showed Valdez bought $11,300 woth of drugs in 2002 and that Guillen bought $19,000 worth of drugs between 2002 and 2005.

Records show that some prescriptions for Williams, Guillen and Valdez were written by a Florida dentist whose license was eventually suspended for fraud and incompetence. The same dentist prescribed growth hormone to Paul Byrd, who reportedly bought nearly $25,000 worth of growth hormone through the same anti-aging clinic. Byrd acknowledged using the substance for medical purposes.

The clinic, the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center, has been targeted by the Albany, N.Y., district attorney for the illegal sale of steroids and growth hormone.

Possession of steroids without a valid prescription has been illegal since 1991. It is illegal for doctors to prescribe growth hormone for uses not specifically approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Performance enhancement is not an approved use. Baseball began testing players for steroids in 2003 and banned human growth hormone in 2005. Growth hormone cannot be detected via a urine test, and baseball only screens players' urine.

During his second to last season with Arizona records show Williams placed two orders with the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center. On March 9, 2002, while with the Diamondbacks in spring training, Williams order $5,693 worth of testosterone cypionate, growth hormone, clomiphene, Novarel and syringes. On May 8, Williams ordered $6,000 worth of testosterone cypionate, nandrolone, clomiphene, Novarel and syringes.

The drugs were sent to a Scottsdale business office Williams long has used as a mailing address.

Injuries limited Williams to just 60 games in 2002, and he hit .260 with 12 home runs and 40 RBI. He retired the following June after playing in just 43 games. Williams also played with the San Francisco Giants and Cleveland Indians in his career.

Today he works as a broadcaster on Diamondbacks games. In 2004 and 2005, after he had retired as a player, Williams placed three orders totaling about $11,000 for additional growth hormone and syringes, according to the records.

Since retiring, Williams has publicly questioned the performance-enhancing value of steroids for baseball players. In April 2004, while the BALCO steroids scandal was beginning to unfold, Williams said he hoped Giants outfielder Barry Bonds would be exonerated in the case, and he downplayed the impact the drugs might have on a player's power hitting.

"The other side of that coin is, you still have to hit the ball out of the ballpark. You still have to hit the ball properly," Williams told reporters at the time.

"If you put some foreign substance in your body, you don't all of a sudden learn how to hit homers," he said. "The question is: Are they illegal? Yes. If you get caught doing it, should you be punished? Yes. What that is, I don't know. I had a hard enough time playing third base."

In the phone interview with the Chronicle on Monday, Williams said that after his 2002 ankle injury, a doctor told him that growth hormone might help him heal. He said he learned about the Florida center from a health magazine and went through a battery of tests before obtaining a prescription for growth hormone in 2002.

"I didn't like the effects it had on my body," Williams told the Chronicle, saying he stopped using the drug that season.

Williams said he had no knowledge that a dentist was prescribing growth hormone for him. He said he wasn't familiar with the drug clomiphene, nor did he comment on the steroids that were ordered. He declined to comment on orders placed with the center after he retired.

Source:SanFrancisco Chronicle, www.sfgate.com/chronicle


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