Report: 104 tested positive for steroids

More than 100 current and former players could be subpoened by federal authorities in connection with the Balco case, the New York Times reported yesterday.

The test results date from 2003 and were intended to be anonymous, but through legal maneuvering, federal authorities seized the records from two firms, Comprehensive Drug Testing and Quest Diagnostics.

The Major League Baseball Players Association continues to battle the government in hopes of keeping the test results confidential. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ruled in January that the government acted within the law and could keep the results.

The Times said the federal government originally thought only about 10 players were involved with Balco but now plans to question 104 players about their positive steroid tests and how they obtained whatever substance was found in their urine sample.

Any suppliers named by the players would be sent to federal prosecutors around the country, the Times reported. Players who tested positive for steroids may have to testify before grand juries or as witnesses in a jury trial.

Blalock is moving on

Hank Blalock will move to first base for Texas when he returns from the disabled list. The longtime third baseman, who has been out since April 26 with a torn left hamstring, volunteered Friday to make the switch.

Blalock has played 686 career games at third base and none at first. The team is sending him to extended spring training in Arizona today.

The move makes sense: Texas signed Ben Broussard in the off-season to play first but placed him on waivers Friday after he hit .159 in 26 games. Ramon Vazquez is hitting .338 with two home runs and seven RBIs as Blalock's primary replacement at third.

Sweet-swingin' Zack

Righthander Zack Greinke (5-1) had a pair of hits as Kansas City beat Florida, 9-3. They were the most hits by a Royals pitcher since Steve Busby had three Sept. 20, 1972. Greinke hiked his lifetime average to .375 (3 for 8).

Noteworthy

The Red Sox purchased the contract of righthander Chris Smith from triple-A Pawtucket. Smith was recalled after Boston used six relievers in its doubleheader sweep of the Brewers on Saturday. . . . Alex Rodriguez remains on target to rejoin the New York Yankees tomorrow. The third baseman has been out since April 28 with a strained right quadriceps. . . . Relief ace Joakim Soria, 24, and the Royals agreed to a three-year, $8.75 million contract extension Saturday, a deal that includes three club options that could raise the value to about $32.75 million. . . . Ichiro Suzuki become the Seattle Mariners' all-time stolen-base leader with 291, surpassing Julio Cruz.

This article also contains information from the Associated Press.
Post a question or comment for staff writer Don McKee