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Baseball will fight congressional subpoenas

Associated Press

Major League Baseball responded with outrage to congressional subpoenas for Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi and other top stars, vowing to fight them all the way to court.

Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Frank Thomas also were summoned Wednesday to testify at the March 17 hearing of the House Government Reform Committee. Also called were players’ association head Donald Fehr, baseball executive vice presidents Rob Manfred and Sandy Alderson and San Diego general manager Kevin Towers.

The committee, which has no interest in hearing from Barry Bonds, also demanded a variety of documents and records of baseball’s drug tests.

Stanley Brand, a lawyer for the baseball commissioner’s office, said the committee had no jurisdiction and was interfering with the federal grand jury by trying to force testimony from Giambi and others.

Canseco, Fehr and Manfred have agreed to testify, with Manfred speaking on behalf of baseball commissioner Bud Selig. Before the subpoenas were issued, Brand told the committee the other players were declining invitations to appear. Thomas said Monday that he would testify.

Brand and Manfred said baseball will attempt to fight the subpoenas. If they are not complied with, the committee could vote contempt citations, which would have to be approved by the full House of Representatives and certified by a U.S. Attorney. If that happened, Brand said the fight over the subpoenas would head to U.S. District Court.

“It is important the American people know the facts on baseball’s steroid scandal,” Davis and Rep. Henry Waxman, the ranking Democrat, said in a statement. “Consistent with our committee’s jurisdiction over the nation’s drug policy, we need to better understand the steps MLB is taking to get a handle on the steroid issue, and whether news of those steps — and the public health danger posed by steroid use — is reaching America’s youth.”

Ankiel switches from mound to outfield

Rick Ankiel is ending a pitching career derailed by injuries and record wildness and will try to make the St. Louis Cardinals’ roster as an outfielder.

Ankiel, 25, had yet to appear in a spring training game as he tried to revive a career interrupted by control problems and reconstructive elbow surgery.

Ankiel said he’s been thinking of making the switch since he left winter ball in Puerto Rico after feeling a twinge in his elbow. He was impressive in his first time throwing to hitters this spring, but the outings since then have been erratic.

Ankiel is a career .207 hitter in the major leagues, going 18 for 87 with two homers, a double, a triple and nine RBIs. He played some at designated hitter for the Cardinals’ rookie league team in Johnson City, Tenn., where he hit 10 homers in 2001.

Wood leaves game with tight shoulder

Kerry Wood left the Chicago Cubs’ 6-5 victory over the Texas Rangers in Mesa, Ariz., before the third inning with tightness in his right shoulder.

Wood, set to start opening day, called his exit from the game “precautionary.”

The 27-year-old Wood missed the entire 1999 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and he was out for two months last year with tendinitis in his right triceps.

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