McGwire offers another apology for steroid use

MIAMI (Reuters) - Former home run king Mark McGwire began his new job as the St. Louis Cardinals hitting coach on Wednesday with another apology for using steroids as a player.

McGwire, 46, first admitted in January to using steroids when he broke Roger Maris' major-league home run record by hitting 70 in 1998 while playing for the Cardinals.

He said Wednesday he had called Maris's family before his confession to the media.

"I just owed it to them," McGwire said. "I wanted Pat (Maris's widow) to hear it from me first rather than the media.

"I just thought that was the right thing to do, and I think she respected that. Understandably she was upset and disappointed. But I wanted her to hear it from me first."

McGwire's home run record has since been broken by the San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds, who hit 73 in 2001. Bonds faces charges that he lied to a grand jury about steroid use.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina)