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Originally published Friday, December 14, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Denial: It was just creatine, fruit

It was over morning coffee with his wife that Jim Parque received a rude jolt from his baseball past. The onetime major-league pitcher and...

Seattle Times staff reporter

It was over morning coffee with his wife that Jim Parque received a rude jolt from his baseball past.

The onetime major-league pitcher and Mariners hopeful, released by Class AAA Tacoma in May after a failed comeback bid, was telephoned by a reporter at his Puyallup home Thursday and told he'd been named in the Mitchell Report. A surprised-sounding Parque, the voices of young children heard playing in the background, asked that the report's details be read to him.

Parque was told that on Pages 223 and 224 of the 409-page document, it states that he twice acquired human growth hormone from a former New York Mets clubhouse attendant, Kirk Radomski, in 2003. The report also mentions Radomski's claims that Parque sent him a bottle of the anabolic steroid Winstrol to "check out."

"That is totally and utterly incorrect and false," Parque said. "I don't even know what Winstrol is."

Parque also denied having ever used human growth hormone or knowing Radomski. When told that photocopies of two checks he reportedly gave Radomski, for $3,200 and $1,600, were in the report, he said he remembered writing checks to buy creatine and other supplements through a third party.

"That stuff didn't work, obviously, because I was only throwing 81 miles per hour," said Parque, 33, who pitched for the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Devil Rays from 1998 to 2003 before a shoulder injury forced him out of the majors. "I'm five-eleven and a buck eight-five. If I was really using all that stuff they said, it sure didn't do a whole lot for me."

The investigative process used by Mitchell is coming under scrutiny for its heavy reliance on statements by Radomski, who cooperated with authorities while facing steroid trafficking charges. Much of Thursday's debate centered on the merits of naming players based on evidence that, in some cases, appears circumstantial.

Parque was one of 12 players in the report with links to the Mariners. Another was former Mariners pitcher Ryan Franklin, who claimed innocence when suspended for a positive steroid test in 2005.

Franklin's wife, Angie, answered the telephone at the couple's Oklahoma residence Thursday and said her husband was away on a fishing trip. The report said Franklin declined to be interviewed by Mitchell's team.

Parque also declined to help the probe.

After an aborted comeback with Arizona in 2004, Parque moved to the Seattle area and opened the Big League Edge baseball academy in Auburn. A guest instructor last month was Alan Wirtala, the Mariners' head physical trainer.

Parque said he wrote checks to a former teammate with Tampa Bay's Class AAA affiliate in 2003 and they might have gone to Radomski. He said he received creatine, vitamins, a supplement that increases red-blood cells and a fruit from South America that cleanses the system.

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"I am going off a vague memory that was four or five years ago," he said. "I fully admit I bought supplements through a guy in Triple-A. I bought those supplements and wrote out checks, but it was so damn long ago."

Parque declined to name the Class AAA player, saying he isn't "about to throw anyone under the bus."

"Obviously, baseball is tainted," he said. "It is coming out that it's tainted to some extent. But I was drug-tested for two years after writing those checks and I never failed a drug test. I'm telling you the truth because there's nothing for me to hide."

Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or gbaker@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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