NEW YORK – Rafael Palmeiro (search) cited a vitamin he received from Baltimore teammate Miguel Tejada as possibly causing the positive steroid test that led to the first baseman's suspension. The Orioles said Major League Baseball absolved Tejada of any wrongdoing.
"They tested the stuff Miggy had and found out it was B12 and cleared it and that's the end of the story," Orioles executive vice president Jim Beattie (search) said.
Palmeiro said he received vitamin B-12 from Tejada, a person familiar with Palmeiro's unsuccessful grievance hearing to overturn the suspension said Thursday on condition of anonymity because the proceedings were secret.
Tejada dismissed Palmeiro's assertion as implausible.
"Right now I'm in shock," Tejada, a former American League MVP, said after Baltimore lost to the New York Yankees (search) on Thursday night.
"I've never given anybody steroids before," he said. "I've been checked out three times already, and I'm clean. I've been clean all my life."
Tejada said he gave Palmeiro the B-12 injection "a long time ago."
"It doesn't bother me because I'm not guilty. I've done nothing wrong. I just gave him B-12, and B-12 is legal," Tejada said. "You don't get caught for B-12."
Vitamin B-12 helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells, and is commonly found in foods such as fish, meat, poultry and dairy products.
Palmeiro has not publicly discussed details of the testimony he gave during a grievance filed by the players' association to overturn his 10-day suspension, which followed a positive test for stanozolol. He testified before the House Government Reform Committee last March that he never used steroids and was interviewed by congressional investigators following the Aug. 1 announcement on his penalty.
His lawyers, Mayer, Brown, Rowe and Maw LLP, issued a statement Thursday night saying they "are disturbed about the misleading reports being leaked by unnamed sources who claim knowledge of the investigation."
"Rafael Palmeiro has never implicated any player in the intentional use or distribution of steroids, or any other illegal substance, in any interview or testimony," the statement said.
According to the person familiar with the investigation, Palmeiro listed the B-12 as a possible reason for the positive test but did not make any definitive accusation.
Before Thursday's 7-6 loss, Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo was asked about Thursday's report in The (Baltimore) Sun that the first baseman had named a teammate in trying to explain his steroid test.
"If in fact that was true, then it probably would not be a good idea" for Palmeiro to return, Perlozzo said. "It's all speculation as far as I know."
Palmeiro went 2-for-26 with one RBI after his return from the suspension, and was sent home by Baltimore on Sept. 5 for rehabilitation on his right knee and left ankle.
"I know that he still would like to come back," Perlozzo said. "He doesn't want to be a distraction and all that. I pretty much told him that as far as I was concerned, it was an organizational decision."
Beattie said no decision would be made until Friday at the earliest.
"We're talking to Raffy right now about that," Beattie said in a telephone interview, saying he didn't want to "comment on hearsay."
Perlozzo didn't discuss with Palmeiro what he may or may not have told the panel. "I did not ask him," he said. "I didn't think that was my job."
Palmeiro's situation is complicated, so Perlozzo wanted the front office to make the decision.
"A lot of things factor in," he said. "Is he going to play or is he not going to play? How much is he going to play? And is it worthwhile to take that chance?"
Arn Tellem, Palmeiro's agent, did not return a telephone call seeking comment. House Government Reform Committee spokesman Dave Marin declined comment.
Baseball has not said when the positive test occurred.
Palmeiro, who turns 41 on Saturday, is batting .266 with 18 homers and 60 RBIs. He got his 3,000th hit on July 15, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the only players with 3,000 hits and 500 homers. Palmeiro's 569 homers rank him ninth on the career list.