Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling was standing in the clubhouse at Fenway Park early in the 2008 season when a member of the team’s medical staff suggested he try human growth hormone to help overcome a shoulder injury.
“There were a few people around and I was shocked,” Schilling said on Thursday. “After this person left, I turned to a teammate and said, ‘Can you believe that?’ It came out of nowhere.”
Schilling reported the incident to Theo Epstein, then the team’s general manager. Epstein was required to inform Major League Baseball and an investigation subsequently took place.
“Our office was notified. We take any report like this seriously and there was an investigation,” MLB vice president Pat Courtney said.
Courtney would not say what the results of that inquiry were because it was personnel matter involving a team employee.
Schilling said the person no longer works for the Red Sox, something that two baseball sources confirmed. The team has made a number of changes in their medical staff in recent years, but none apparently were as a direct result of the 2008 investigation.
Schilling said “two or three” investigators from MLB came to Boston to speak to him.
“I don’t remember who they were. I was trying to downplay the whole thing because I wasn’t playing at the time and I didn’t want to cause any problems in the clubhouse,” Schilling said. “Had I known Theo was going to report it to MLB, I would have never said anything. I was kind of mad that he had to do that.”
Schilling did not identify the person involved, telling the Globe only that it was not former medical director Thomas Gill, former head athletic trainer Paul Lessard or former strength and conditioning coach Dave Page.
Schilling responded to a Twitter user who asked why he wouldn’t expose somebody who suggested he a drug banned by Major League Baseball.
“Because outing the person would not do anything for anyone. It wasn’t anyone in uniform, nor the baseball ops group,” Schilling wrote.
Schilling said he was taken aback by the suggestion he try HGH, a substance banned by Major League Baseball. He said the comment was not made in a joking manner.
“It was right out in the open, it was sort of a conversation between one and a half people. There were people listening,” Schilling said. “It was the last thing I expected.”
Schilling initially spoke about the incident on Thursday morning during an appearance on ESPN Radio.
Shortly after, Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said he was “surprised” by the news.
“Certainly this is something to look into, but it came from out of left field, to use a baseball cliché,” Lucchino told reporters at a Jimmy Fund event in Boston.
Later in the day, Lucchino said he did recall the incident and said the investigation by MLB was conducted “in a timely manner.”
Schilling said he was not tempted to use HGH despite dealing with an injury that would eventually require career-ending surgery.
“I have sons and it wasn’t something I was going to do, to take that step and cross the line,” he said. “I’ve had been clean and I wasn’t going to do something to change that at the end of my career. I said something at the time because I was worried about younger players.”
Courtney said MLB planned to speak to Schilling again to make sure the incident he is speaking of now is the same one he reported then.
“It is,” Schilling said.