Robinson speaks out on steroids

Posted: February 19, 2005

Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson thinks steroids have created a "cloud over baseball" and that new penalties against steroid use aren't strong enough.

In his most extensive comments to date on the topic, baseball's No. 5 all-time home-run hitter said yesterday many fans are willing to ignore steroid use because they enjoy the "home runs, the RBI, the big explosion offensively" of the last few years.

"But I'll tell you one thing," Robinson added. "The players that play this game do care, and the players that have played this game care. I'll tell you that.

"It's a cloud over baseball right now about steroids," Robinson said before a Nationals spring-training workout in Viera, Fla. "My take on that is that it doesn't belong in the game."

Robinson has been reluctant to comment on the steroid issue and refused to cite individuals. But he's clearly concerned about the suspicion cast over all players, especially those who have naturally improved their games.

Under new standards announced last month, players who test positive for steroids for the first time will be suspended for 10 games. It will require four positive tests to get a 1-year ban. A fifth positive is subject to discipline determined by the commissioner.

"I just think the penalties are not strong enough," Robinson said. "First offense, 10 days? Five times? You'd have to be awful stupid."

Noteworthy

* Venezuelan police stormed a mountain camp and rescued the mother of Detroit Tigers pitcher Ugueth Urbina from kidnappers after 5 months in captivity. The raid left at least one of her abductors dead, authorities said. Maura Villarreal, 54, was unharmed, police said. *

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