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Mets' Beltran says he met Galea but didn't use HGH

Carlos Beltran will become the second Mets player

Carlos Beltran will become the second Mets player to speak to the FBI about a Canadaian doctor who was allegedly involved with human growth hormone. (Feb. 22, 2010) Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Carlos Beltran said Tuesday that he spoke to the FBI last week about his involvement with Anthony Galea, the Canadian sports doctor under investigation for allegedly distributing performance-enhancing drugs.

Beltran's admission came two days after Jose Reyes said he had been interviewed by the FBI about his visits to the Toronto-based doctor. Like Reyes, Beltran said he received treatment from Galea, but he also told the FBI when asked that he was never injected with human growth hormone (HGH).

"Of course not," Beltran said. "At the same time, when you're a player, you don't want to be in a situation like this one. You don't want to be [linked] to someone that has done something illegal. But my case was totally different, so I have nothing to worry about, nothing to hide.

"I just went there for an opinion on my knee and also to have a guy that has dealt with this situation in the past, and unfortunately this thing ended up to be something that probably he was doing something illegal."

The FBI has contacted Alex Rodriguez and also is planning to speak with former Met Carlos Delgado, according to a report. Beltran said he recommended Galea to Reyes, whom the FBI interviewed Thursday in Port St. Lucie. Reyes visited Galea three times last September for platelet-rich plasma therapy to help heal his torn right hamstring tendon, but denied the use of HGH.

Beltran was limited to 81 games last season by a severe bone bruise below his right knee. Frustrated by the lingering injury and the Mets' medical staff, Beltran was granted permission by the team to seek other medical opinions.

In July, Beltran visited Dr. Richard Steadman, a pioneer in microfracture surgery, at his clinic in Vail, Colo. Steadman, at that time, advised against the procedure. Beltran said he learned about Galea "from friends" and traveled to Toronto in the hope of a non-surgical solution.

"A lot of guys were treated by him," Beltran said, "and when I first met him, he started mentioning names of players that he treated, like Tiger Woods . . . We're talking about a guy that has treated a lot of good athletes, so I believe he knew what he was doing. It's just that he got caught up doing something illegal."

According to the criminal complaint, Mary Anne Catalano, Galea's assistant, was stopped at the U.S.-Canada border Sept. 14 trying to smuggle HGH and other drugs into the United States. The complaint says Catalano told agents she knew the items were illegal and that she was transporting them for her employer.

Galea also faces charges in Canada, including allegedly selling the unapproved drug Actovegin, a suspected performance-enhancer that is extracted from calf's blood.

Besides Reyes, Beltran and Delgado, now a free agent, Galea also reportedly has treated U.S. Olympic swimmer Dara Torres and a number of NFL players. Beltran said it was Galea's experience with NFL injuries, particularly bone bruises, that made him appealing.

"He was well recommended," Beltran said. "He told me a lot of football players have that kind of injury, so he was able to work with them. I had nothing to lose. Just to go out and have another opinion and go from there."

General manager Omar Minaya said the team's medical staff did sign off on the visits to Galea, but that the Mets are not involved in the investigation. Now that the FBI is interviewing their players, the Mets are reminded it is important to closely monitor outside medical opinions for their players.

"That's why you always have to be careful," Minaya said. "You try to keep it within the team's confines as much as possible."

It's not only the Mets' problem, either. Reyes and Beltran were among the first contacted by the FBI, but as one person familiar with the situation said, it's only the start of that process. Galea was involved with many pro athletes in a variety of sports.

"It's a long, long, list," the person said.

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