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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 11, 2010

MLB: Former Giants outfielder Benard admits steroid use

AP Baseball Writer

SAN FRANCISCO Former San Francisco Giants outfielder Marvin Benard admitted he used steroids during the team's 2002 World Series season to deal with a nagging knee injury.

Benard acknowledged his steroid use to The Associated Press on Sunday, when he was in the Bay Area for a reunion of the Giants' 2000 NL West champion team. He said he was coping with his troublesome, surgically repaired left knee at the time and thought steroids would help him stay on the field.

"Yes, I did," Bernard told the AP when asked if he took steroids. "It was what it was. I did some stupid things. I should have never done them. At the time you think you're doing the right thing for the right reason, then you realize you made a mistake and it's too late and you can't take it back."

"You've got to move on. It's not going to change anything. There's nothing that can change it, make it better or make it worse than what happened," he said.

Benard first told the San Francisco Chronicle earlier Sunday he had taken steroids in '02. He spent all nine of his major league seasons with the Giants, retiring after 2003. He underwent three surgeries on his left knee, one on his right during his career and later had a back operation.

"I think people are done with it, but things keep popping up and popping up," Benard said of steroids use. "A lot of people got caught up into it. I guarantee if you could go back and ask people if they would change it, they would. It's easy to say, 'Well, you'd change it because you got caught.' It is what it is."

Benard appeared in only 65 games during the 2002 season and wasn't on the playoff roster because of the knee problem.

Asked what he thought of Mark McGwire's offseason admission he used performance-enhancing drugs, Benard said, "I don't want to go down that road."

Benard said he didn't want his remarks to become the center of attention during the reunion festivities.

Former teammate and home run king Barry Bonds was also in the house complete with the slugger's usual entourage and security force.

Benard was mentioned in the Mitchell Report released in December 2007.

Specifically, he was named in sections on BALCO the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative as having obtained "the clear" and "the cream" from trainer Greg Anderson. Benard was also subpoenaed to appear before the BALCO grand jury.

After then-Giants manager Dusty Baker, with whom Benard was close, learned of allegations that Benard had used steroids, he said he was "completely shocked." At the time, Baker had asked Benard if the allegations were true, and Benard confirmed them, but said he had stopped, the report said.

Soon after the Mitchell Report came out, Benard told his now 14-year-old son, Isaac, he had taken performance-enhancing drugs. He called that the toughest part of this process, but said it became a teaching tool.

Benard said his son had been approached by kids at school that his dad had taken steroids, to which the boy said at the time, "My dad would never do that." When Isaac told his father that, Benard nearly broke down in tears.

"That was the hardest thing for me, ever," he said. "I really don't care who says what about me. They can call me any name in the book."

His son and 11-year-old daughter, Haley, accompanied him to San Francisco so "they could see where I used to work."

Benard has remarried since his playing days, has a 2-year-old daughter to join the two older children and is a stay-at-home dad in Kennewick, Wash. He also plans to go back to school to finish a degree in kinesiology.

A career .271 hitter with 54 homers and 105 stolen bases, Bernard had a career-best 16 home runs and 27 stolen bases with .290 average in '99. Benard was a 50th-round draft pick by the Giants in 1992 out of NAIA power Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho.

Former Giants owner Peter Magowan spent several minutes during the reunion reception reflecting on Benard's long odds to make the majors and what a special thing it was for the franchise."He was a 50th-round draft pick," Magowan said.