Steroid probe calls team elders
By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer
St. Petersburg Times Online
Published June 11, 2006

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Rays manager Joe Maddon, senior adviser Don Zimmer and two top team officials have been asked to meet next week with lawyers working on former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell's independent investigation into steroid use.

Mitchell's investigators have requested interviews with representatives of all teams. Senior vice president of baseball operations Gerry Hunsicker and team president Matt Silverman also have been asked to meet with them June 21.

"I have a date with some attorneys," Maddon said. "I don't know what they want. I don't know how I can help. ... I'm just curious to see what kind of questions they would ask somebody like me. It's an educational moment, I think."

The investigators have no legal power to compel testimony or issue subpoenas, but the commissioner's office, which asked Mitchell to lead the investigation, has told team officials they are expected to cooperate.

John Clarke Jr., an aide to Mitchell, told the Kansas City Star on Friday: "We can report that as part of the investigation we have requested interviews of on-field coaches and front-office executives from all 30 of the major-league clubs ... "

Given the requests to interview Hunsicker, Maddon and Zimmer, it would appear the investigators are looking to talk with personnel who have been in and around clubhouses for a long period of time.

The union has told all players (current and former) not to talk to the investigators without notifying union staff and having legal representation. Rays players have what was said to be a previously scheduled meeting with union officials on Monday in Detroit that is expected to cover a variety of subjects.

Also, Chris Mihlfeld, the trainer whose name has been mentioned prominently in the Jason Grimsley human growth hormone case, had a limited role with the Rays in 1998. Some reports claimed he was a full-time trainer, but Mihlfeld was a strength and conditioning intern with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League team.

JAMES GANG: Rookie James Shields hopes his third major-league start goes as well as his second, when he pitched six shutout innings Monday against the Angels and notched his first big-league win.

"I just want to go out there and do the same things," Shields said.

Shields said the differences between Triple-A and the majors are significant, but he believes he is learning something every day.

"It's definitely a different game up here," he said. "You have to get used to it, and I think I'm getting used to it pretty quickly."