Cubs president Theo Epstein still can't explain Curt Schilling's contention that a Red Sox "employee" encouraged him to take performance enhancing drugs to help extend his career, but five years later it remains the only time a player has mentioned the subject to him in 10 years running baseball operations in Boston and Chicago, Epstein said Sunday.
``It's the only time in my career where a player mentioned performance enhancing drugs to me,'' Epstein said Sunday in his first public comments since Schilling made the incident public for the first time last week during a radio interview.
``I immediately reported it to major league baseball,'' Epstein said, reiterating what MLB and current Red Sox officials have said in the aftermath of Schilling's on-air comments. ``The club did its own investigation. Major league baseball did a very thorough investigation. ... They had a lot of conviction about their conclusion that their was no wrongdoing and therefore no discipline of the individual in question.''
Epstein wouldn't confirm reports that the employee Schilling named was former Red Sox physical therapist Mike Reinold, who left the team after last season.
``I can only say that this individual was thoroughly investigated and came out with his reputation very much intact,'' Epstein said. ``Because of this investigation, the individual in question probably has been as thoroughly vetted as anyone in a big league clubhouse and came out extremely clean. So this incident should not be seen as an attack on his integrity.''
The subject of performance enhancing drugs in baseball has been spotlighted again this winter with reports linking several big-name players to an alleged provider in South Florida and with revisions to MLB's testing program that includes HGH testing for the first time this year.
``It's a big step, and I applaud them for it,'' Epstein said. ``Obviously, the entire industry has to be very vigilant. We've taken some blows this off-season and the only way to continue to earn the respect and faith of our fans back is to try to stay on top of it.''