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Albert Pujols used PEDs, former All-Star Jack Clark says
Former All-Star slugger Jack Clark accused three-time MVP Albert Pujols of being injected with performance-enhancing drugs by a trainer during the early part of Pujols’ career. The trainer has denied the allegations.
Pujols said late Friday night that he will seek legal action against Clark.
Clark is in his first week as a radio host on WGNU in St. Louis and has plenty of Major League credentials. A fearsome power-hitter, Clark was a four-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger and finished in the top-20 of National League MVP voting six times. He finished an 18-year career with a .267 average, .379 on-base percentage and 340 home runs.
He served as Dodgers hitting coach from 2000 until August 2003 and, during that time, said a former personal trainer of Pujols claimed to have injected the burgeoning star with steroids.
“I know for a fact he was (a juicer),” Clark said on Aug. 2. “The trainer that worked with him, threw him batting practice from Kansas City, that worked him out every day, basically told me that’s what he did.
“[The trainer] had told me what he was doing with ‘Poolie,’ threw him batting practice, worked him out, shot him up, all that stuff.”
Pujols, who has never failed a drug test or been otherwise implicated with performance-enhancing drugs, wasn’t picked until the 13th round of the 1999 draft. He spent only a single season in the minors and was named NL Rookie of the Year in 2001 after hitting .329 with 37 home runs and 130 RBIs.
The trainer Clark spoke of, Chris Mihlfeld, has worked as a conditioner with numerous MLB clubs and trained pitcher Jason Grimsley, who was suspended by MLB for performance-enhancing drug use in 2006. Mihlfeld also coached the baseball squad at the junior college Pujols played for in 1998.
Mihlfeld denied the allegations during an interview with NBCSports.com.
"I haven't even talked to Jack Clark in close to 10 years," Mihlfeld wrote in an e-mail. "His statements are simply not true. I have known Albert Pujols since he was 18 years old and he would never use illegal drugs in any way. I would bet my life on it and probably drop dead on the spot if I found out he has. As before once again both Albert and myself have been accused of doing something we didn't do."
During an interview with reporter Dan Caesar on Thursday, Clark went more in depth about his suspicions.
“…[Mihlfeld] just told me that he wanted me to get started on steroids and he had some other guys that were doing it,” Clark said. “He told me that’s how he’s conditioning this guy that he met out of high school and college and he looked like he was going to be a star, keep an eye on him.”
Clark said he was hoping to be put on a nutrition program by Mihlfeld.
“He told me, “Well you couldn’t do what I do with Albert Pujols, he’s on this real strenuous workout deal.’”
Mihlfeld continued to push steroids as an option for Clark, who said he wasn’t interested.
“He had told me he had done that with Pujols, with steroids, and I really never thought too much about it because steroids were really not on my radar screen at that time,” said Clark, who added that he never actually saw Pujols get injected.
Pujols played in St. Louis for 11 seasons before signing a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Angels prior to the 2012 season. He hasn’t been the same hitter with Los Angeles and is likely to miss the rest of the 2013 season after suffering a foot injury.
The 33-year-old Pujols has seen his average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage decline each season since 2009. Pujols had 47 home runs with a 1.101 OPS in 2009 but has only 17 home runs and a .767 OPS during his shortened 2013 season.