NEW YORK — Rafael Palmeiro was suspended Monday for violating Major League Baseball’s steroids policy, nearly five months after telling Congress that “I have never used steroids. Period.”
Palmeiro two weeks ago collected his 3,000th hit, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the only players with 3,000 hits and 500 homers.
Palmeiro, 40, is the seventh and highest-profile player to test positive for steroids under the major league policy adopted earlier this year.
In remarks prepared for a conference call Monday, Palmeiro said he had accepted his punishment and could not explain how the steroids got into his body.
“I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period,” he said. “Ultimately, although I never intentionally put a banned substance into my body, the independent arbitrator ruled that I had to be suspended under the terms of the program.”
A grievance filed by the players’ union against the suspension was denied.
Appearing with Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and other baseball stars before a congressional committee on March 17, Palmeiro made an opening statement in which he said: “Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids. Period. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.”
Palmeiro seemed in that appearance to be indignant over accusations made by former slugger Jose Canseco, who cited Palmeiro as a steroid user in his tell-all book. In an interview on the CBS television show “60 Minutes,” Canseco — who also testified before Congress — said he injected the drug into Palmeiro.