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Originally published December 13, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified December 18, 2007 at 11:48 AM

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Former Mariners minor-leaguer denies using steroids

Onetime Mariners pitching hopeful Jim Parque was having coffee with his wife and children in Puyallup this morning when jolted by a telephone call.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Onetime Mariners pitching hopeful Jim Parque was having coffee with his wife and children in Puyallup this morning when jolted by a telephone call.

Parque was told by a reporter that his was one of more than 80 current and former major-leaguers listed by the Mitchell Report as being connected to steroids. The 33-year-old played for the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Devil Rays from 2000 through 2003 before his career ended in the Mariners organization last spring after an aborted comeback attempt from extensive shoulder problems.

Despite being listed in the report as having purchased two shipments of human growth hormone in 2003 from former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, Parque insisted today that he only bought creatine and other supplements he believed to be legal.

"I know I went through another [Class AAA] player with the Devil Rays and he said he'd get me some stuff,'' Parque said. "But it wasn't human growth hormone or anything like that.''

The process used by Mitchell in gathering information against certain players, relying heavily on statements by Radomski, is bound to come under scrutiny as today's news is dissected and its historical ramifications debated.

The report also states that Parque sent Radomski a bottle of Winstrol, an anabolic steroid, for examination. Radomski is said in the report to have determined the bottle was 'no good" and thrown it away. Parque vehemently denied this account, said he doesn't even know what Winstrol is and that he never met Radomski personally.

"I don't even remember talking to the guy,'' he said. "I remember purchasing some supplements through a guy in Triple-A.''

The supplements Parque says he bought include creatine, another supplement to increase his red blood cells and a "South American fruit that's supposed to cleanse your system.''

The report showed copies of two checks made out to Radomski, purportedly by Parque, in the amounts of $3,200 and $1,600 in October and December of 2003. Parque says he remembers writing out checks to somebody for the supplements, but that he gave them to the Class AAA player to forward them on.

"I was just getting supplements,'' he said. "If I was taking that other stuff, I had two years where I was tested after that and I never tested positive.''

Parque added: 'I am going off of a vague memory that was four or five years ago. It was in Triple-A. I was under the impression I was getting creatine and a supplement that increases red blood cells. And the fruit. To say I was getting those other things is totally and utterly incorrect and false."

While MLB does screen players for steroids, amphetamines and other stimulants, it does not have a reliable test for human growth hormone. Parque pitched briefly for Seattle's Class AAA Tacoma affiliate last spring before walking away from the game for good.

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He moved to the Seattle area after a failed comeback bid in 2004 and now operates a baseball academy, Big League Edge, in Auburn. One of the camp's guest instructors last month was current Mariners head strength trainer Alan Wirtala, brought in to teach youngsters the current training techniques used by the big-league club.

Parque insists he isn't worried about any fallout from the report.

"I'm done with baseball,'' he said. "I'm telling the truth because for me, there's nothing to hide."

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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