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CLEVELAND -- The former trainer of Albert Pujols vehemently denied recent statements made by former big leaguer Jack Clark, who said on St. Louis radio that he knows "for a fact" that the Angels` first baseman used steroids.
Clark said on WGNU (920 AM) that Chris Mihlfeld told Clark, while the two were together on the Dodgers in the early 2000s, that he "shot [Pujols] up." In a written statement to http://MLB.com and several other news organizations, Mihlfeld said he hasn`t talked to Clark in "close to 10 years" and that 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," Mihlfeld wrote. "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."
Clark, who played 18 years in the big leagues and hit 340 home runs before his final season in 1992, has been on the air in St. Louis for less than a week but has already brought up Pujols` situation twice, according to an initial report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
On Friday, Clark`s co-host, Kevin Slaten, said he long believed that Pujols "has been a juicer," and Clark jumped in and said: "I know for a fact that he was. 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."
Clark later said on the air that Mihlfeld "had told me what he was doing with `Poolie` -- threw him batting practice, worked him out, shot him up, all that stuff."
Pujols, who is not known to have failed a drug test by Major League Baseball, stayed back in Southern California to continue rehabbing his injured left foot and isn`t with the Angels in Cleveland this weekend. His agent, Dan Lozano, could not be reached for comment.
Clark, who served as the Dodgers` hitting coach from 2000-03, said in a follow-up interview with the Post-Dispatch that he never actually saw Mihlfeld inject Pujols and that his information came only from what he was told.
Clark said he spent time with Mihlfeld in 2000 and that the trainer asked him if he wanted to take steroids, telling the Post-Dispatch: "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."
In 2006, one of the players Mihlfeld trained, Jason Grimsley, admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs and was suspended by MLB, leading to speculation that prompted Pujols to address alleged steroid use.
"Why would I do something like that to my family?" Pujols said then. "Why would I do something like that to God? Why would I do something like that to my team? Just to try to gain some small extra? It`s part of what I believe: What you do in the dark will come into the light. I have nothing to fear. I`m just tired of hearing about it."