Pirates support Mitchell's findings
Team president Coonelly plans to implement recommendations
PITTSBURGH -- Though no current member of the Pirates organization was named in the 311-page report released by former Sen. George Mitchell on Thursday, that's not to say that the organization will go unaffected by its contents and revelations.
Prior to the release of the report, the organization supported Commissioner Bud Selig by providing Mitchell's investigation with what Pirates president Frank Coonelly described as "pages and pages of documents" that were requested by Mitchell. Members of the Pirates' medical staff, as well as baseball operations personnel, were among those within the organization who were interviewed during Mitchell's 21-month investigation.
When Sen. Mitchell's comprehensive search process was complete, the only connection the Pirates had to the findings of the Mitchell Report were through 11 former Pirates who were linked in various ways to performance-enhancing drugs. The most recent to wear Pittsburgh black and gold was Benito Santiago, who played in six games for the Pirates in 2005.
However, the list of 89 former and current players with alleged connections to both steroids and human growth hormones is just one portion of the comprehensive report. As a part of his findings, Mitchell also outlined a list of recommendations that he is hopeful the Commissioner's Office, the MLB Players Association and individual teams will willingly adopt.
Speaking to the media on Thursday afternoon, Selig expressed a willingness to adopt every recommendation set forth in Mitchell's report. Among the 19 separate recommendations laid out by Mitchell include logging packages sent to players at the ballpark; background checks and random drug testing of clubhouse personnel; independent, year-round, unannounced drug testing; and improved educational programs about performance-enhancing drugs for players.
After having read much of the report's contents, Coonelly echoed Selig's desire to adopt each recommended change in order to preserve the sanctity and integrity of the game.
"We view the release of the Senator's findings as a positive step forward for the game," Coonelly said. "Senator Mitchell concluded that the use of performance-enhancing substances was widespread in baseball. ... The Pirates support the Commissioner's desire to have the most effective and transparent drug program in all professional sports."
In order to prevent the use of performance-enhancing drugs among the organization's players, Coonelly said that the Pirates will continue to emphasize a "food first" approach as it relates to the health and nutrition of their players. The organization will also implement necessary additional educational programs for its players and staffs to ensure a clean clubhouse.
"The Pirates do not and will not tolerate the use of any substances banned by baseball's comprehensive drug testing program by our players at any level, and we will continue to go to great lengths to educate our players on the dangers of using such substances," Coonelly said. "The Senator has recommended additional education for players and the Pirates strongly support this recommendation and will work with the Commissioner's Office as it implements this recommendation."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.