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Friday, August 9, 2013

Verlander answers former big-leaguer Jack Clark's PED allegations: 'Clearly, he doesn't know what he's talking about'

Seems that former Major League Baseball player Jack Clark is out to make a name for himself right at the start of his career on AM radio in St. Louis, throwing around accusations of performance enhancing drug use.

[UPDATE: The decision backfired on Clark, as his radio show was canceled Saturday, after seven shows.]

Most of Clark's barbs have been aimed at Cardinals legend Albert Pujols — "I know for a fact he was (a juicer)," Clark said last week on his afternoon drive-time radio show on WGNU-AM (960) in St. Louis — he took potshots at Detroit pitcher Justin Verlander, too.

Verlander told reporters Friday, including the Detroit News' Lynn Henning, saying of Clark "clearly, he doesn't know what he's talking about."

Clark used a decade-old conversation with an associate, once Albert Pujols' personal trainer, as evidence. That trainer, Chris Mihlfeld, disputed the story today.

But the connection was even less tenuous with Verlander.

Clark was quoted by The St. Louis Post-Disptach's Dan Caesar as having said the following about Verlander:
“Verlander was like Nolan Ryan, he threw 97, 98, 100 miles an hour from the first inning to the ninth inning,” Clark said on the air. “He got that big contract, now he can barely reach 92, 93. What happened to it? He has no arm problems, nothing’s wrong. It’s just the signs are there.
“The greed ... they juice up, they grab the money and it’s just a free pass to steal is the way I look at it.”
For reference, according to, Verlander's fastball averaged 96.86 mph in Tuesday's win over the Indians, and topped out at 100.75. (Yes, the Progressive Field gun has seemed to run hot this year, but it still registered as Verlander's best fastball velocity of the season, hardly the 92 or 93 that Clark alleges Verlander is stuck at.)

Yes, Clark spent 18 years in the big leagues, playing for five different teams. No, he's not speaking as a big-league player, anymore, not since he joined the ranks of the 'media' that ballplayers so often despise. Now, saying something like that — on air, with no evidence — can be grounds for a defamation suit, if someone should be so inclined.

Yes, ballplayers in general are probably received with more suspicion at the present moment, considering the suspensions that just came down this week.

But when someone like Clark throws stuff like that against the wall, seeing if it will stick, there will always be some who believe it. And there has been.

Now, it'll be incumbent upon both Pujols and Verlander to respond to the accusations, just because someone felt like making them.

Verlander did that in New York Friday afternoon:

UPDATE: The Post-Dispatch's Caesar reported Saturday that WGNU announced the cancelation of the show, after Pujols directly threatened legal action against both Clark and the station for defamation, while Verlander merely hinted at the idea.

Pujols released a statement Friday that said, in part:
“I know people are tired of athletes saying they are innocent, asking for the public to believe in them, only to have their sins exposed later down the road. But I am not one of those athletes, and I will not stand to have my name and my family’s name, dragged through the mud. I am currently in the process of taking legal action against Jack Clark and his employers at WGNU (920 AM).
“I am going to send a message that you cannot act in a reckless manner, like they have, and get away with it. If I have to be the athlete to carry the torch and pave the way for other innocent players to see that you can do something about it, I am proud to be that person.


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