VIERA, Fla. (AP) Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman vigorously defended himself against performance-enhancing drug allegations made in a documentary that aired in December.

Zimmerman said he never heard of or met the people featured in the Al-Jazeera America documentary, ''The Dark Side: Secrets of Sports Doping.'' He and Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard in January filed a defamation suit against the network, which Zimmerman said is the strongest way to prove his innocence.

The organization's longest tenured player said he was willing to open up his entire life, including phone and email records, to discovery as part of the defamation suit. Even though Zimmerman acknowledged it's difficult for public figures to successfully sue for defamation, he felt it was his responsibility to go through the process to clear his name.

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