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Publish Date: 3/22/2005

Rockies first baseman Todd Helton stretches with teammates Monday at the Rockies’ spring training facility in Tucson, Ariz. Helton is upset with St. Louis Cardinals broadcaster Wayne Hagin, who accused Helton of taking steroids during a broadcast Saturday. Hagin has since retracted the statement and apologized. Helton denied the use of steroids Monday.AP/Ed Andrieski

Helton unforgiving
Rockies first baseman contemplates lawsuit over ‘juice’ comment

ST. LOUIS — Former Colorado Rockies broadcaster Wayne Hagin on Monday denied saying Rockies All-Star first baseman Todd Helton used steroids and said he was referring to supplements when he used the word “juice” in an interview.

“Not once did I say ‘steroids,’” Hagin told KOA radio in Denver.

In an interview Saturday with a St. Louis radio station, Hagin — now a broadcaster for the St. Louis Cardinals — said of Helton, “I know he tried it because (former Rockies manager) Don Baylor told me. He said to me, ‘I told him to get off the juice, that he was a player who didn’t need that, get off it.’”

Hagin’s comment was widely reported as a reference to steroids. Baylor later said he was referring to creatine, a legal over-the-counter supplement, and not steroids.

Helton angrily denied using steroids.

“It’s frustrating and disappointing that you have to defend yourself for something you didn’t do just because some guy wants to talk to hear himself talk,” Helton said in Tucson, Ariz., where the Rockies are in spring training.

“I just want to get my side of it told,” he said. “He said it was a mistake. Baylor obviously confirmed that wasn’t the conversation we had. The guy was wrong. Whether it was a blatant lie or his facts were misunderstood, either way he did a lot of damage to me. I’ll never forgive him.”

Helton said he was contemplating legal action but declined to elaborate.

Hagin told KOA his comment was taken out of context. “I did not say what I have been held guilty about,” he said. “They have sensationalized this.”

He again apologized to Helton, saying, “I’m sorry it happened to him and I’m sorry it happened to me.”

Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla wrote Monday that Hagin repeated his story to Post reporter Mike Klis, saying, “Don Baylor told me he suspected Todd Helton of experimenting with steroids.”

Rockies bench coach Jamie Quirk defended Helton.

“Anyone who has ever been around Todd Helton would know that has never entered his mind,” Quirk said.

Teammates covered Helton’s locker with police tape as a practical joke Monday with a sign reading, “This area closed pending a search for evidence.”

A producer for the St. Louis station where Hagin made the remarks did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

Hagin is employed by the Cardinals. Dan Farrell, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Cardinals, declined an interview request.

Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd said he has forwarded his concerns to his counterpart in St. Louis, Walt Jocketty.

“There is probably not a whole lot he can do, but I wanted to make sure he is aware of what is going on,” O’Dowd said. “And I wanted to let him know the kind of position it has put Todd in as a person and us as an organization.”

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