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04/11/08 8:50 PM ET
Sprague admits using PEDs
Former Jays infielder took Androstenedione, amphetamines
By Ken Daley / Special to MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Former Blue Jays infielder Ed Sprague admitted to a California newspaper that during his 11-year playing career he used performance-enhancing substances that have since been banned by Major League Baseball.
Sprague, now 40 and in his fifth season as a baseball coach at the University of the Pacific, told the Stockton Record that he used amphetamines and Androstenedione, and even once hit a home run with a corked bat.
The revelations came in response to a question about steroids in baseball. Sprague said he could not condemn steroid users because he previously used Androstenedione, which was banned under the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004. Sprague spent his first 8 1/2 seasons with the Jays from 1991-98, before moving on to the Athletics, Pirates, Padres, Red Sox and Mariners. A shoulder injury forced his retirement in 2001.
"Amphetamines are illegal now, too, and I took those, so am I going to stand on one side and not the other side?" Sprague said in the interview. "I took Andro, and they banned that. So, am I the cleanest guy? No, but I tried to be as strong and as healthy as I could as long as I could for my career."
Sprague was Toronto's first-round pick in the 1988 First-Year Player Draft and reached the Majors in 1991. He was a member of the Jays' world championship teams in 1992-93 and represented the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1999 All-Star Game.
Sprague won Game 2 of the 1992 World Series against Atlanta by hitting a two-run homer off Braves closer Jeff Reardon in the top of the ninth. He is the only player to win a College World Series, Olympics gold medal and a World Series.
His best individual season was 1996, when he drove in 101 runs and led the Jays with 36 homers. He never hit more than 22 homers in any other season.
"It could have been '96. ... I could have taken Andro then, and I might have," Sprague said. "I don't remember everything I took."
Androstenedione was originally sold as a dietary supplement and gained its greatest prominence when its use was defended by slugger Mark McGwire in 1998. The United States Food and Drug Administration banned its sale in April 2004 because of reported health risks commonly associated with steroids. The substance was banned by Major League Baseball in 2004 and was reclassified as an anabolic steroid in 2005.
Sprague also said amphetamines were "an ultimate part of the game" and were "in the locker room forever." Amphetamines were banned by Major League Baseball in 2005.
Few players from Sprague's era remain with Toronto. First-base coach Ernie Whitt spent one Spring Training with Sprague in camp, but Whitt's last year as a Jays player came two years before Sprague reached the Majors.
"I left in '89," Whitt said, "so I really don't know anything about it."