Ted Berg, USA TODAY Sports
Ever-candid former pitcher Curt Schilling told ESPN Radio on Wednesday that "former members of the [Red Sox] organization" suggested he consider performance-enhancing drugs to help facilitate his return from injury in 2008.
"It was an incredibly uncomfortable conversation," Schilling said, according to WEEI.com. "Because it came up in the midst of a group of people. The other people weren't in the conversation but they could clearly hear the conversation. And it was suggested to me that at my age and in my situation, why not? What did I have to lose? Because if I wasn't going to get healthy, it didn't matter. And if I did get healthy, great."
Only the parties present can know which "members of the organization" Schilling is referring to - the description is vague enough that it could be members of the training staff, the coaching staff, the front office or even teammates. But the idea that PEDs would be discussed openly inside a big league organization years after Major League Baseball started its efforts to thwart their use might come as some surprise.
Still, the plight Schilling describes likely sheds light on why some players still use banned PEDs even while at risk of a 50-game suspension. Questions of morality aside, if a player believes a performance-enhancer represents his best opportunity to ascend to or remain at the major league level, the risk of being caught might seem less troublesome than the possibility of staying mired in Class AAA or having to leave the game altogether.
Schilling's news comes on the heels of another strike against now-departed members of the Red Sox organization: the Tuesday revelation that pitcher John Lackey felt misled by the Red Sox' medical staff while pitching with bone spurs in his elbow during Boston's now-infamous collapse near the end of the 2011 season.
Following that season, the Red Sox made wholesale changes to their medical staff.
"When you get an MRI after the season and your doctor asks what the hell you were doing pitching, you get the idea that somebody wasn't being honest with you," Lackey told the Boston Globe.
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