Albert Pujols is not taking accusations that he used performance-enhancing drugs lying down. The Los Angeles Angels slugger will take legal action against Jack Clark after the former major league player suggested that Pujols has used PEDs.
"I am currently in the process of taking legal action against Jack Clark and his employers at WGNU 920-AM," Pujols said in a statement released Friday. "I am going to send a message that you cannot act in a reckless manner, like they have, and get away with it. If I have to be the athlete to carry the torch and pave the way for other innocent players to see that you can do something about it, I am proud to be that person. I have five young children and I take being a role model very seriously. The last thing I want is for the fans, and especially the kids out there, to question my reputation and character."
In his first week on his St. Louis radio show, Clark not only accused Pujols of being a "juicer," he also said Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander showed signs of using PEDs.
Clark, a four-time All-Star, said Chris Mihlfeld, Pujols' former trainer, had told him 10 years ago that "he shot him (Pujols) up," ESPN reported.
"I know for a fact he was," Clark said. "The trainer that worked with him ... that worked him out every day, basically told me that's what he did."
Mihlfeld told ESPN on Friday he had not talked to Clark in close to 10 years and that Clark's statements are "simply not true."
"I have known Albert Pujols since he was 18 years old and he would never use illegal drugs in any way. I would bet my life on it and probably drop dead on the spot if I found out he has," Mihlfeld said. "As before, once again both Albert and myself have been accused of doing something we didn't do."
Mihlfeld was linked to PEDs in 2006 when Jason Grimsley, one of the pitchers he worked with, admitted to using PEDs and was suspended. However, no link between Grimsley's drug use and Mihlfeld was ever proved.
Pujols said he has been tested hundreds of times in his career and understands the public is skeptical when it comes to players declaring their innocence.
"I've said time and time again that I would never take, or even consider taking, anything illegal," Pujols said in the statement. "I've been tested hundreds of times throughout my career and never once have I tested positive. It is irresponsible and reckless for Jack Clark to have falsely accused me of using PED's. My faith in Jesus Christ, and my respect for this game are too important to me. I would never be able to look my wife or kids in the eye if I had done what this man is accusing me of.
"I know people are tired of athletes saying they are innocent, asking for the public to believe in them, only to have their sins exposed later down the road. But I am not one of those athletes, and I will not stand to have my name and my family's name, dragged through the mud."
Pujols, who signed a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Angels after the 2011 season, has struggled to stay healthy since leaving St. Louis.
Clark has not been shy about his disdain for players who have been accused of cheating.
"All those guys are cheaters. A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez). Fake, phony. Rafael Palmeiro. Fake, a phony," Clark told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2010. "(Roger) Clemens, (Barry) Bonds, (Sammy) Sosa. Fakes, phonies. They don't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. They should all be in the Hall of Shame. They can afford to build it. They've all got so much money. And they could all go there and talk about the next way to rub something on your skin. The whole thing is creepy.
"They're all creeps. All these guys have been liars."