Kasten talks about Mitchell Report
Club president didn't receive notice of names in investigation
WASHINGTON -- Nationals president Stan Kasten on Monday broke his silence about the Mitchell Report, which linked 89 current and former players to performance-enhancing drugs, but he declined to mention newly acquired catcher Paul Lo Duca by name for legal reasons.
According to the Report, Lo Duca purchased human growth hormone from Kirk Radomski, a bat boy, equipment manager and clubhouse attendant for the Mets from 1985-95. The Report said Lo Duca made these purchases as a member of the Dodgers and Marlins. Mitchell requested a meeting to discuss these allegations, but Lo Duca declined.
Four former Nationals players also were named in the Report -- outfielders Jose Guillen and Nook Logan, relief pitcher Mike Stanton and catcher Gary Bennett.
"You probably want me to say something about Paul Lo Duca or about Nook Logan. I really can't," Kasten said. "There are [legal and baseball] issues involved. Let's remember, under the collective bargaining agreement, the administration of the drug program and [the] investigation enforcement ... [are the] exclusive province of the Commissioner. The team has no role in that. That is probably a wise decision."
Without using Lo Duca's name, Kasten, who was interviewed by Mitchell, indicated clubs were not given advance warning about the names in the Report. The Nationals have since communicated with Lo Duca, but Kasten would not go into details. Kasten wished, however, he had known about the allegations during contract negotiations.
"It's safe to assume I prefer knowing things ahead of time to not knowing things ahead of time. I don't want to speculate on what any team might have done had they had different knowledge or not. It's just impossible to say," he said. "We knew nothing of the names that would be included. I will not speculate on what might have happened on anyone on our team, other than to say, 'I'm disappointed when I see any name on the list that was associated with the Nats.' ... I encourage all of our players, or any player that I know, to cooperate fully with the Commissioner as he continues to work through these issues."
Kasten was "troubled and sad" after reading the entire Report recently and "troubled" by Sen. George Mitchell's assertion that there were many more names that were not included in the Report.
"It reminds us all why we need the strongest possible drug program that we could have, why we need as much vigilance as we could possibly muster," Kasten said. "We completely support the efforts by the Commissioner. We are 100 percent behind him in his campaign to preserve the integrity of the game."
Lo Duca has remained silent since the Report came out, and e-mail messages to his agent, Andrew Mongelluzzi, were not returned.
Former Pirates and Dodgers manager Jim Tracy gave Lo Duca his first chance to be a starting catcher when both were in Los Angeles. Tracy declined to give an opinion about Lo Duca being in the Report, but he predicted that Lo Duca will continue to be an excellent catcher in the big leagues.
"From the standpoint of his ability as a receiver, his game calling, ability to understand how to get the most out of the guy that is 60 feet, six inches away from him, that has nothing to do with [the Report] that we are talking about," Tracy said. "Paul Lo Duca sets himself apart from other guys that go back behind the plate and do that job. None of that has changed, and it won't change.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.