Tuesday, November 6, 2007

For Byrd Watchers...

This just in from ESPN...

Pitcher Paul Byrd, whose admitted use of human growth hormone served as a backdrop to the end of Cleveland's season, had his $7.5 million club option for 2008 picked up by the Indians on Tuesday. Before Game 7 the American League Championship Series in Boston, Byrd acknowledged taking HGH after the San Francisco Chronicle reported he spent nearly $25,000 on the banned drug and syringes between 2002 and 2005. The 36-year-old Byrd claims he took HGH for a medical condition and did so only under a doctor's supervision.
Byrd is expected to meet with Major League Baseball to discuss his use of the performance-enhancing drug.
The Indians also exercised their $4 million option on closer Joe Borowski, who led the AL with 45 saves last season, and $1.5 million option on left-handed reliever Aaron Fultz.
Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said he was unaware of Byrd's use of HGH until two days before Game 7. The newspaper reported Byrd had purchased HGH while pitching for Kansas City, Atlanta and the Los Angeles Angels.
Last week, Shapiro said he had not heard from baseball officials about Byrd. The GM added that in deciding whether to pick up the option he would consider only the right-hander's performance on the field.
Byrd went 15-8 with a 4.59 ERA in 31 starts during the regular season.
It was his highest win total since 2002, when he was with the Royals.
During the AL playoffs, Byrd beat New York in Game 4 as the Indians knocked out the Yankees. He also won Game 4 of the ALCS over the Red Sox, who rallied from a 3-1 deficit to eliminate Cleveland before sweeping Colorado in the World Series.
Byrd held a news conference before Game 7 at Fenway Park, where he said he was taking HGH for a "pituitary tumor." He wouldn't elaborate on his condition and would not answer questions about whether he was still taking the drug.
Byrd strongly denied hiding his use of HGH, banned by baseball in 2005. The newspaper reported Byrd made his final purchase of HGH a week before the ban began.
Byrd said baseball officials knew he had been taking the drug, which he said he often stored in clubhouse refrigerators.

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