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Angels' Matthews Jr. denies taking HGH

Associated Press • Mar 15, 2007 at 12:48 PM

Gary Matthews Jr. had one of his best games of spring training just hours after denying for the first time that he ever took human growth hormone.

Matthews went 2-for-3 with a home run in the Los Angeles Angels' 4-3 win over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.

Matthews, who was allegedly sent HGH in 2004 from a pharmacy that's part of a widespread steroid investigation, issued a statement before the game denying he ever took the substance.

The Angels had been pressing Matthews to explain why The Times Union of Albany, N.Y., reported he was listed as a customer of Applied Pharmacy Services in Mobile, Ala. That company is under investigation for allegedly being part of a national steroids distribution network.

"I have never taken HGH - during the 2004 season or any other time," Matthews said in a statement. "Nobody has accused me of doing so, and no law enforcement authority has said I am a target of any investigation for doing so."

Matthews did not comment other than his statement issued by the team.

He shined on the field, leading off the bottom of the first with a single off Russ Ortiz. He stole second, but was stranded there. In the third, Matthews hit his second homer of the spring. He grounded out to end the fourth inning.

"He was relieved," manager Mike Scioscia said in Tempe, Ariz. "I think we're relieved that the release will let us start to move forward and turn the page on this. I think Gary's statement is a step in that direction."

Barry Bonds returned to the Giants' lineup after taking Tuesday night off and went 0-for-2 with a walk as the designated hitter.

Bonds flied out to right in the first inning and then struck out swinging against Kelvim Escobar in the third. He walked in the fifth before being replaced by pinch-runner Ryan Klesko, who played for the first time since injuring his left side last week.

Tigers 2, Mets 0

At Lakeland, Fla., Curtis Granderson went 4-for-4 with a home run, and Kenny Rogers went five innings for Detroit. Mets right-hander John Maine allowed one run and three hits in four innings.

Astros 4, Braves 2

At Kissimmee, Fla., Chris Burke had two hits, including a home run, and Jason Jennings pitched four innings for Houston.

White Sox 11, Brewers 8

At Tucson, Ariz., Eduardo Perez strained his right calf rounding first base after hitting a three-run homer in the first inning for the White Sox. Perez was unable to round the bases but said he expects to be back on the field within the next few days.

Pirates 3, Red Sox 2

At Fort Myers, Fla., Pirates starter Zach Duke gave up four hits, including a two-run homer to Mike Lowell in the fourth. Ian Snell pitched three hitless innings for Pittsburgh, striking out four and walking one.

Marlins 5, Orioles 1

At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Marlins left-hander Scott Olsen allowed two hits over five scoreless innings.

Cardinals 2, Nationals 2, 10 innings

At Jupiter, Fla., Scott Rolen homered for the Cardinals and Anthony Reyes tossed 4 1-3 shutout innings.

Jason Simontacchi, bidding for a spot in the Nationals' rotation after being out of the major leagues the last two seasons, worked five innings.

Indians (ss) 8, Blue Jays (ss) 1

At Winter Haven, Fla., Victor Martinez, Cleveland's regular catcher, made three strong defensive plays in the field in his first start of spring training at first base. He also hit one of the Indians' four home runs.

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