Gonzo upset over 'whispers' of steroid use

Posted: June 16, 2006

Arizona leftfielder Luis Gonzalez reacted angrily yesterday after the Diamondbacks' top executive told a newspaper there have been "whispers" about whether the five-time All-Star used performance-enhancing drugs.

Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick did not accuse the popular player of cheating. But he mentioned Gonzalez's name in a rambling interview with the Arizona Republic about steroids in baseball, prompting Gonzalez to call a news conference 2 hours before the Diamondbacks hosted San Francisco.

"Just to have your name thrown in it - I've had phone calls from 7:30 this morning till right now," Gonzalez said. "I don't want to be in this situation. I don't think any of my teammates do.

"He's trying to protect the game of baseball in his own way," Gonzalez said, referring to Kendrick. "It's unfortunate that I almost have to sit here today to defend myself for no reason."

In the interview, Kendrick said: "I'll be blunt with you and say there have been certainly whispers about Luis Gonzalez. Because he's such a high-profile guy and you can make a case of his numbers 5 years ago vs. his numbers today and therefore he must have been doing something. Well, he's also 5 years older."

Gonzalez hit 57 homers in 2001, the year the Diamondbacks won the World Series. His previous high was 31 homers, and he hasn't hit more than 28 in a season since.

Kendrick stressed that "I don't have any suspicions about Luis Gonzalez. Any more than I would about any other player."

Noteworthy

* John Wetteland was removed as the Washington Nationals' bullpen coach and offered another job with the organization because of what manager Frank Robinson called "philosophy differences."

* Cincinnati acquired infielder Juan Castro from Minnesota for minor league outfielder Brandon Roberts.

In games yesterday:

* At Miami, Cody Ross hit a two-run homer, Ricky Nolasco (5-3) pitched seven strong innings and Florida beat Atlanta, 3-2, to complete a three-game sweep.

* At Phoenix, Pedro Feliz had a career-high six RBI, Matt Morris (4-7) pitched a complete game and San Francisco routed Arizona, 8-2.

* At Chicago, Brad Ausmus hit a two-run single in the eighth inning, rallying Houston to a 3-2 victory and three-game sweep of the Cubs.

* At San Diego, Chad Billingsley pitched impressively in his major league debut and drove in two runs with his first hit, helping the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Padres, 7-3.

* At Washington, Jason Jennings (5-6) threw eight strong innings and Brad Hawpe homered and drove in four runs, leading Colorado over the Nationals, 8-1, to complete a four-game sweep.

* At Pittsburgh, Chris Duncan tripled and doubled to key a pair of two-run rallies and St. Louis beat the Pirates, 6-5. *

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