From the USA Today:
“It was such a stupid thing, but I was desperate,” Lawton told Sports Weekly during his first interview since being suspended 10 days by Major League Baseball for violating its steroids policy. “Maybe it was the pressure of playing in New York, I don’t know. I never had the urge to take any of that stuff before, but I was talking to some guys, and they guaranteed it would get the pain out.”
Lawton, who says he had always taken pride in being clean and that he had never even taken amphetamines, was injected with the veterinary steroid boldenone.
“I wasn’t playing well enough to be on a Little League roster, let alone be on the roster of the New York Yankees,” Lawton said. “I just wasn’t physically able to do the job. I had never been in the playoff hunt before. So I did something that will always haunt me.”
Lawton took the steroid injection Sept. 20 in New York. Because he hadn’t been tested for steroids all season, he figured he was safe.
Lawton showed up at Yankee Stadium the next day and learned he was starting in center field. He took batting practice and couldn’t believe the difference. He felt no pain. He drove the ball to all fields. He hit the ball into the seats. Lawton recalls Yankees manager Joe Torre joking, “Where did this guy come from?”
In the lineup for the first time in a week, Lawton hit a home run off Orioles starting pitcher Rodrigo Lopez in his first at-bat. He went 2-for-3 with two RBI. The Yankees won 2-1 to move past the Red Sox into first place.
“It was weird, after that one shot, I felt fresh again,” Lawton said. “Maybe it was mental, I don’t know, but the ball started jumping off my bat again. I suddenly had oomph.”
The next day, MLB tested Lawton for steroids. He had only three more at-bats the rest of the season, and the Yankees left him off their playoff roster.
Funny, at the time, the Yankees announcers said that it was Mattingly working with Lawton that led to that homerun.
This is sorta/kinda scary because the same announcers give Donnie the credit for turning Giambi around this season too. But, to Jason’s defense, he’s passed every test thrown at him. Then again, maybe what he’s taking is a little more stealth than a veterinary steroid?
No, no, no, no – I’m not saying that Giambi is living his life via his T-Shirt philosophy. I’m just suggesting that you have to consider all possible causes for a turnaround – and not just buy what the YES-boys are saying.
Look at Lawton for an example.
Perhaps worst of all is the line in the USA Today report that reads:
Lawton says he talked to friends and teammates and then made a telephone call that he will regret forever.
Geez, were they Yankees teammates? That might just be the worst news out of this whole story.
I hope it’s not something that comes up in 2006.