BOSTON – Accused of purchasing human growth hormone and syringes for a period of three years through 2005, Cleveland Indians pitcher Paul Byrd contended Sunday that he was being treated for a tumor on his pituitary gland, took the drug under medical supervision and regretted that the story surfaced hours before Game 7 of the American League championship series.
In an email to Yahoo! Sports, Byrd wrote, "I'm not sure there is a story here since I didn't do anything illegal. The tragedy in all of this is the timing. I am in the bullpen tonight and don't want this to be a distraction for our team."
In his email, he continued, "I have not taken any hormone apart from a legitimate doctor's care and supervision. My team, my coaches and MLB have known that I have had a pituitary gland issue for some time and have assisted me in getting blood tests in different states. I recently found out from an MRI that I have a tumor on my pituitary gland. I am currently working with an endocrinologist and will have another MRI on my head after the season to make sure that the tumor hasn't grown."
Byrd was the winning pitcher in Game 4, the victory that gave the Indians a three-games-to-one advantage in the series. The Boston Red Sox have since won two consecutive games, forcing Sunday night's Game 7.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported Byrd bought nearly $25,000 worth of HGH, which was banned by baseball in 2005, from an anti-aging clinic that is the subject of a federal investigation into illegal distribution of performance-enhancing drugs.
Major League Baseball issued a statement that read: "We will investigate the allegations concerning Paul Byrd as we have players implicated in previous similar reports. Since Mr. Byrd and his club, the Cleveland Indians, are currently active in post-season play, we will interview Mr. Byrd prior to the start of the World Series should the Cleveland club advance."
Byrd, who claims to have a medical condition that requires hormone treatment, said he would hold a news conference before Sunday's game.