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McGwire plans to make hearing

From wire reports

Mark McGwire plans to comply with a subpoena and attend today’s congressional hearing into steroid use in baseball, The Associated Press has learned.

McGwire’s decision, revealed Wednesday by a representative of the former Oakland and St. Louis slugger who spoke on condition of anonymity, made it likely all six subpoenaed players would attend the session on Capitol Hill. The others are Boston pitcher Curt Schilling, Chicago White Sox first baseman Frank Thomas, former Oakland slugger Jose Canseco, and Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro of Baltimore.

Less than 24 hours before the start of the highly anticipated hearing, Canseco’s request for immunity was denied by the House Government Reform committee, which also revealed that baseball’s drug-testing agreement contains a provision that testing would be “suspended immediately” if the government conducts an independent investigation into drug use in baseball.

As the House committee prepared for its hearing, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., charged that baseball’s new steroid policy has been misrepresented to the American public.

“I expect the league and the players’ union to modify the new policy to comply with at least what was announced by MLB in January,” wrote McCain to Commissioner Bud Selig and the head of the players’ association, Don Fehr.

“To do anything less than that would constitute a violation of the public’s trust, a blow to the integrity of Major League Baseball, and an invitation to further scrutiny of the league’s steroid policy,” McCain warned.

Clearing the bases

Barry Bonds returned to the San Francisco Bay area to have his surgically repaired right knee evaluated by the doctor who performed the operation. … New York Mets pitcher Steve Trachsel, 34, has a herniated disk in his back that could force him to miss the first few months of the season. … Injured Chicago Cubs pitchers Kerry Wood and Mark Prior showed some progress after testing their arms at the team’s spring training park. … Los Angeles Angels pitcher Bartolo Colon was forced out of his spring training start against Colorado after two innings because of spasms in his lower back. … Boston center fielder Johnny Damon expects to miss about five days because of cellulitis above his right ankle and in his groin that will be treated with antibiotics. … Pete Munro was released by Houston, narrowing the tight competition for the fifth starter in the pitching rotation. … Cleveland signed manager Eric Wedge, 37, to a two-year contract extension, keeping him under contract until 2007.

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