NEW YORK (AP) -- In perhaps the worst moment of a miserable season for the New York Mets, general manager Steve Phillips stood in front of a microphone and answered questions about widespread drug use on the team.
"In my opinion, there is not rampant drug use on our major league roster," Phillips said Friday following a report that at least seven players smoked marijuana this season.
Tony Tarasco, Mark Corey and Grant Roberts were identified by Newsday as among those who had used marijuana. The paper, which did not name any other Mets, cited unidentified sources close to the team.
"I guarantee you no one was in uniform and smoking marijuana, unless they were running around with a whole lot of Visine in their eyes," manager Bobby Valentine said. "I grew up in the '60s. I think I could tell by looking in a guy's eyes if he was smoking dope."
Valentine said he couldn't understand why a player would use marijuana before a game, and he did a silly impression of what it would be like to get in the batter's box while under the influence.
"Marijuana is not a performance enhancer. I don't think anybody would want to get in there and try to dodge a 95-mph fastball," he said. "Maybe I'm naive. Maybe afterwards. I don't know. I don't party with the guys."
A picture of Roberts smoking marijuana appeared in Newsday. Phillips said it was taken in the winter of 1998, while Roberts was in the minors.
The 25-year-old reliever was visibly shaken as he spoke.
"I'd like to start by saying I'm sorry," Roberts said. "I'm embarrassed. I made a mistake. I apologize to the New York Mets organization and their fans. ..."
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