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Notebook: Gwynn says amphetamines are big problem

| Sunday, April 27, 2003

One year after steroids were the hot topic in baseball, attention is now focused on amphetamines, following a story in Tuesday's New York Times featuring an outspoken Tony Gwynn.

In the story, Gwynn was quoted as saying that 50 percent of position players regularly use amphetamines, commonly known as greenies.

"People might think there is a steroid problem in baseball, but it's nowhere near the other problem; the other, it's a rampant problem," the former Padres outfielder said.

Padres general manager Kevin Towers said he stunned by Gwynn's comments that amphetamine use was "rampant" on recent Padres teams.

"(Amphetamine use) is something we certainly do not condone," Towers said. "If we ever saw a player openly take amphetamines, we'd take care of the problem. In my seven years, I've never seen it happen."

Gwynn stood by his comments in an interview with the San Diego Union Tribune and dismissed the denials of Towers and Padres manager Bruce Bochy.

"I'm not backing off of it," said Gwynn, now the coach of San Diego State. "I said what I said. I'll stand by what I said. Don't tell me about Boch and Towers. I don't work for them. They're going to say what they have to say. I don't need to come to them. ... The reason I didn't come to them is because it's obvious.

"I'll stand by what I said. I'm not backing off."

EAST

Philadelphia entered Friday tied with Los Angeles and San Diego for fewest home runs (13) in the National League, despite a lineup that includes Jim Thome (52 homers in 2002) and Pat Burrell (37). In comparison, the Yankees lead the majors with 44 homers. Burrell leads the Phillies with three homers; Thome has hit two.

CENTRAL

Cubs closer Antonio Alfonseca is set to come off the disabled list late this week. But Alfonseca (19 saves in 2002) won't mind if the team sticks with current closer Joe Borowski, who was 3 for 3 in save chances heading into Friday. "I can't say anything because he has done a good job for the team," Alfonseca said. "If the team needs me for a closer, I'm here. Whatever they say." ... Albert Pujols played first base for the Cardinals on Thursday against Atlanta. Pujols, who was suppose to be limited to pinch hitting for at least two more weeks because of a sprained ligament in his right elbow, was told by manager Tony La Russa not to attempt an overhand throw.

WEST

Arizona entered its weekend series at New York last in the National League in total runs scored (74). Only Detroit (43) has scored fewer runs than the Diamondbacks. ... Colorado blanked San Diego, 8-0, last Sunday to improve to 12-7 on the season, marking the second best start in franchise history. The Rockies followed up the fast start by getting swept in a three-game series at Philadelphia. ... Major league baseball issued guidelines for teams traveling to Toronto because of the SARS outbreak, but the Dodgers are urging their players to look at those guidelines in preparation for a trip next month to Montreal. "We're aware of the fact the focus is on Toronto, yet the concern is still there," Dodgers senior vice president Derrick Hall said.

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