CHICAGO (AP) — Jim Parque, a former pitcher for the White Sox and Tampa Bay, says he used human growth hormone “about six times” after he was cut by Chicago in 2002 and before he tried a comeback with the Rays the following season.

Parque made his confession in a lengthy, first-person account printed Thursday in the Chicago Sun-Times. He says he tried HGH in a bid to recover from a shoulder injury that he blames for derailing his career.

“It never gave me more strength or bulked me up, but it provided quicker recoveries,” Parque wrote. “I began to throw harder because my shoulder felt no pain. I was able to withstand more throwing, creating a work environment that I had not experienced in two years.”

Parque made five starts for Tampa Bay in 2003, compiling an 11.94 ERA. He never pitched again in the majors. In 2007, he was named as a drug user in the Mitchell Report.

A left-handed pitcher with a 31-34 career record who never made big money, Parque said he sustained a torn labrum during the 2000 playoffs and, after exhausting every other possible remedy, turned to HGH in an attempt to save his career.

“I know that in admitting to this, I am a cheater, a villain and nothing more than a drug user in the eyes of the media and some fans,” Parque wrote. “What was I going to do? I had no job skills, no experience in the real world. … The father in me was racing to find an alternative in an effort to provide for my family.”

He also said he was able to justify his actions because while HGH “was controversial and unethical,” it wasn’t banned by Major League Baseball at the time.

White Sox captain Paul Konerko, who played four seasons with Parque, said he doesn’t condone what his former teammate did but understands why he did it.

“I can see if you put it all into context and you’re dealing with a time where it was prevalent and there were no repercussions and there was nothing stopping you from doing that, you can easily see how it all unfolds,” Konerko said Thursday before the White Sox played the Rays. “If you put yourself in that situation, you can see his thought process on it.”

Parque now runs a baseball academy for young players in the Seattle area, where he lives.

Outfielder Carl Crawford, who joined Tampa Bay during the 2002 season and is one of the few people currently in the organization who was around during Parque’s brief stay there, said he didn’t remember the pitcher.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said: “Jim Parque? just knew when he pitched here with the White Sox, little left-hander way back in the day. But, I didn’t know him with the Devil Rays.”

White Sox general manager Ken Williams was criticized by an angry Parque after the team released the pitcher in 2002. Parque apologized to Williams in Thursday’s column.

“At a time when he doesn’t have to say it and doesn’t have to expose himself like that, I think that’s a tremendous amount of courage and character,” Williams said. “Whatever he’s done in the past, these are things that he and others like him are going to have to live with. Good for him. He probably has washed away a lot of things that have been on his conscience.”

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen also praised Parque for being honest.

“I tip my hat to him. At least he’s got guts to admit it and let people know what he did wrong,” Guillen said. “We need more of that. If I was his father, I’d be proud of him.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.