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Garciaparra denies using steroids

Nomar Garciaparra flatly denied yesterday that he has used steroids, responding to a Bob Ryan column in yesterday's Globe that referred to questions about steroids without accusing the shortstop of using them.

"Without question, that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard," Garciaparra told assembled reporters after the Cubs-Pirates game had been postponed.

"If I was taking steroids, should I send them back and get the good ones? Apparently I got the wrong one. They didn't work. I didn't get my money's worth."

Garciaparra, who suffered a ruptured tendon in his left groin this week, also said he plans to meet with doctors in a few days to see if he will need surgery. "I'm still gathering information about this injury and what it entails and what the rehab entails," he said. "There are both pros and cons to having the surgery and not having the surgery."

Garciaparra is on the 15-day disabled list but could miss several months. He was injured Wednesday in St. Louis when he slipped running out the batter's box. He collapsed and was helped from the field.

Nine more suspended
Former New York Mets pitcher Grant Roberts was among nine players suspended for 15 games for violating baseball's minor league steroids policy, raising the total this year to 47. Outfielder Adam Seuss, who was released by the Mets and then signed with the Houston Astros, also tested positive. Also suspended were Gary Cates Jr., Rafael Diaz, and Richard Salazar (Baltimore Orioles), James Jurries and Ricardo Rodriguez (Atlanta Braves), Eider Torres (Cleveland Indians) and Damien Myers (released by the Detroit Tigers) . . . Barry Bonds was back on crutches, which might mean a setback in his recovery from right knee surgery, but the slugger and the San Francisco Giants aren't talking. Bonds had a second arthroscopic surgery on his knee March 17, and no timetable has been set for his return. When Bonds arrived at SBC Park to speak to a group of disadvantaged middle school students, he made his way to the dugout on crutches, but he wouldn't say anything specific about his knee. "All my updates will be on the website," Bonds said, referring to his personal website . . . Yankees designated hitter Ruben Sierra will be sidelined for at least a month because of a partially torn right biceps. Infielder Andy Phillips was recalled from Triple A Columbus . . . Orioles pitcher Sidney Ponson was granted a special permit to enter Canada for a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays. Ponson had trouble obtaining a work visa because of his involvement in two court cases. Ponson was scheduled to arrive in Toronto last night, and is expected to make his scheduled start tomorrow . . . Shortstop Bobby Crosby and the Oakland Athletics agreed to a five-year, $12.75 million contract. He was being paid $350,000 for this season before the deal . . . The Mets placed lefthander Kaz Ishii (0-2, 4.82 ERA) on the 15-day disabled list with a strained muscle in his side . . . The Florida Marlins placed righthander Antonio Alfonseca on the 15-day disabled list with a stress fracture in his elbow and was expected to miss at least two months. . . . Milwaukee Brewers ace Ben Sheets spent a second night in a Houston hospital while doctors continued to investigate his dizziness. Diagnosed with an inflamed nerve in his inner ear, team doctor James Muntz elected to keep Sheets hospitalized for another night when the pitcher still reported dizziness during eye exercises . . . The Kansas City Royals optioned struggling first baseman-designated hitter Calvin Pickering (.148 batting average, 14 strikeouts in 27 at-bats) to Triple A Omaha.

Correspondent Daniel I. Dorfman contributed to this report from Chicago.

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