Yankees star Gary Sheffield will not be penalized by the commissioner's office after his admission that he unknowingly used a cream two years ago that
contained illegal steroids.
Sports Illustrated reported in this week's issue that the New York outfielder was supplied a cream by BALCO, the California lab at the center of a
federal probe into illegal steroids distribution.
Sheffield said he applied the cream on his surgically repaired right knee in 2002. He was not told it contained an illegal steroid, the magazine
Under baseball's labor deal, players with major league contracts were each tested once for steroids this season. A provision allows more frequent
testing if a joint management-labor panel of physicians finds "reasonable case."
"There is a reasonable-cause provision in the Basic Agreement, but it is limited to activity within the last 12 months. Obviously, this activity was
before the 12-month window," Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president of labor relations, said at Yankee Stadium before Tuesday's AL playoff
series opener against Minnesota.
"The more important issue is what are people doing today. That's why we have a testing program and we have good information on all major league
players as a result of the testing program," Manfred said.
Bob Holley, the lawyer for BALCO president Victor Conte, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Tuesday that "BALCO provided Gary Sheffield with
no illegal substances and the check BALCO received from Sheffield was for legal nutritional supplements."
Sheffield refused to address the situation Tuesday but said it would not distract him.
"I always speak my mind, like I told you all that before. That's a story I did before, and I stick by that and that's the end of it," he said.
"Unfortunately, everything always comes out when it's a special moment for me and my teammates," he said. "Same thing happened the first day of spring
training, the same thing happens the first day of the playoffs. I'm looking forward to getting it behind me and moving forward."
Yankees manager Joe Torre said he would be surprised if the issue distracts Sheffield.
"Sheff had to deal with this in spring training. He's all baseball, as far as I'm concerned," Torre said. "I guess if you're going to play in any town
that gets you used to distractions, it's this one. So maybe he's had some practice, being able to focus on what he needs to focus on."