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Crawford comes clean

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  June 21, 2006 03:05 PM

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Paxton Crawford has always held an infamous place in Red Sox history, after the pitcher fell out of bed and landed on the disabled list (he said he slipped and cut his abdomen). Now, he might play an even more infamous role.

In a piece he wrote for this week’s ESPN The Magazine (subscription required to read), Crawford admitted to using steroids and HGH while with Boston from 2000-01. Check out this excerpt, which also seems to shed a controversial light on the Sox clubhouse at that time.

“During minor league spring training with the Red Sox in 1999, some of the other guys saw I was hurting. They told me that if I took this stuff, it would make the pain go away and cut my recovery time in half. Shoot, why not? I'm just a country boy; I didn't even think twice.

“I was probably using the most back in 2001, when I made the Red Sox rotation out of spring training. About that time I was getting pretty big, and another player introduced me to human growth hormone, which had started to make the rounds in the majors. I got a kit with two bottles: One was filled with some kind of water, and the other was filled with these tiny crystals. I put a few drops into the crystals and -- poof! -- it became liquid. I thought, Boy, what the hell are you putting into your body? But I did it anyway.

“Back in 2001, I thought I was the man. I had no shame, and I thought nobody could touch me. One time, I walked right into the Red Sox clubhouse with a bunch of needles wrapped in a towel and left them on my chair. A few minutes later, one of my teammates came running over, saying, ‘Paxton, someone knocked your chair over and your freaking needles are all over the floor!’ Man, we just died about that. He said it was the funniest thing he'd ever seen, told me I was nuts. But that's the way it was back then.”

The 28-year-old Crawford went 5-1 for the Red Sox in 2000 and 2001, but never pitched at the major league level after that. Back problems (which he blames on steroid use) ultimately spelled the end for Crawford, whose career ended in the minor leagues in 2005. According to ESPN The Magazine, he is currently working on his family’s farm in Arkansas.

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