Pettitte admits using HGH, not steroids

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Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte yesterday admitted the Mitchell Report's allegations are true - that he did use performance-enhancing drugs.

Pettitte, in a statement released by agent Randy Hendricks, admitted using human growth hormone (HGH) on two occasions but denied ever having used steroids.

Pettitte became the second player mentioned in the report to publicly admit to HGH use since its release Thursday. Former utility player F.P. Santangelo on Friday admitted using HGH multiple times.

HGH is a synthetic hormone that mimics the chemical that your pituitary gland secretes. It stimulates growth and facilitates muscle mass and the ability to recover from physical exertion. It is not a steroid.

In the Mitchell Report, released Thursday, former Yankees assistant strength and conditioning coach Brian McNamee - who also has worked as a personal trainer for Pettitte, 35, and Roger Clemens - made allegations that correspond with Pettitte's statement. Major League Baseball's collective-bargaining agreement did not prohibit the use of HGH until 2005.

In the report, the result of an investigation headed by former Sen. George Mitchell, McNamee said Pettitte asked him about human growth hormone while rehabilitating his elbow in Tampa, Fla., between April and June of 2002. The report states: "McNamee recalled that he injected Pettitte with human growth hormone that McNamee obtained from [former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk] Radomski on two to four occasions."

McNamee made no claims of further use of performance-enhancing drugs by Pettitte. He did, however, make assertions about long-term steroid use by Clemens.

Clemens, in a statement Thursday through lawyer Rusty Hardin, vehemently denied having used steroids.

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The Yankees announced Pettitte's one-year, $16-million re-signing Wednesday. Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner said yesterday afternoon, moments before the release of Pettitte's statement, that he had talked to Pettitte and has no regrets about re-signing him.

"Yep, Andy is a Yankee," Steinbrenner said by phone. "I want him back, and that's the bottom line."

Soon after Pettitte's statement, the Yankees released a statement that said: "Late this afternoon, Andy Pettitte advised us that he would be making a public statement. We support his coming forward."

In his statement, Pettitte took issue with broader accusations of his having done steroids. "Everything else written or said about me knowingly using illegal drugs is nonsense, wrong and hurtful," Pettitte said. "I have the utmost respect for baseball and have always tried to live my life in a way that would be honorable. I wasn't looking for an edge; I was looking to heal.

"If I have let down people that care about me, I am sorry, but I hope that you will listen to me carefully and understand that two days of perhaps bad judgment should not ruin a lifetime of hard work and dedication. I have tried to do things the right way my entire life, and, again, ask that you put those two days in the proper context."

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Pettitte went 15-9 with a 4.05 ERA in 2007. In his career, most of which has been spent with the Yankees, he is 201-113 with a 3.83 ERA.

Clemens, though, is 45, and many already believed he was headed for retirement. Steinbrenner said he was not planning to bring back Clemens before the report, and that has not changed.

Steinbrenner also said he does not believe the number of Yankees named in the report diminishes the club's four world championships between 1996 and 2000, particularly when the two chief witnesses - McNamee and Radomski - were based with New York teams.

"No, absolutely not," Steinbrenner said. "Obviously, the Yankees and the Mets became a focus in the report, to the relief of the 28 other teams. It's already been covered in the national media constantly why the Yankees and Mets are named more than anybody else in the report, because of the two witnesses ... You can't go by just the report. The report's very limited."

Andy Pettitte's statement

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"First, I would like to say that contrary to media reports, I have never used steroids. I have no idea why the media would say that I have used steroids, but they have done so repeatedly. This is hurtful to me and my family.

"In 2002 I was injured. I had heard that human growth hormone could promote faster healing for my elbow. I felt an obligation to get back to my team as soon as possible. For this reason, and only this reason, for two days I tried human growth hormone. Though it was not against baseball rules, I was not comfortable with what I was doing, so I stopped. This is it - two days out of my life; two days out of my entire career, when I was injured and on the disabled list.

"If what I did was an error in judgment on my part, I apologize.

"I accept responsibility for those two days. Everything else written or said about me knowingly using illegal drugs is nonsense, wrong and hurtful. I have the utmost respect for baseball and have always tried to live my life in a way that would be honorable. I wasn't looking for an edge; I was looking to heal.

"If I have let down people that care about me, I am sorry, but I hope that you will listen to me carefully and understand that two days of perhaps bad judgment should not ruin a lifetime of hard work and dedication. I have tried to do things the right way my entire life, and, again, ask that you put those two days in the proper context.

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"People that know me will know that what I say is true."

Effects of HGH

FACE AND HEAD: Said to improve vision, enlargement of jawbones

UPPER BODY: Builds muscle and strengthens connective tissue, carpal tunnel syndrome

HEART: Enlargement, Hypertension

LIVER: Enlargement

PANCREAS: Diabetes

COLON: Increased risk of cancer

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