Washington, DC (Sports Network) - New York Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi will not have to appear before a congressional panel on Thursday, as he was excused from testifying to the House Government Reform Committee.
Tom Davis, the chairman of the committee, and Henry Waxman, the committee's ranking minority member, announced on Tuesday that Giambi was excused as a witness for the hearing on steroid use in Major League Baseball at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice. Giambi will not have to testify because the committee didn't want to hinder an ongoing federal investigation stemming from the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative scandal.
"From the outset, we have said that we in no way wanted our inquiry to impede or complicate any ongoing investigations by law enforcement," Davis and Waxman said in a statement. "Therefore, upon hearing today from the Justice Department that Mr. Giambi's appearance could do just that, we have decided to excuse him from testifying. All other invited witnesses, however, will be expected to comply with the subpoenas issued to them last week."
Giambi, who turned 34 in January, clubbed 41 homers and drove in 107 runs in 2003, the season in which he admitted to using several steroids provided from Barry Bonds' personal trainer Greg Anderson, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The newspaper reported Giambi, in his federal grand jury testimony, described how he used syringes to inject the human growth hormone into his stomach and testosterone into his buttocks.
Giambi issued a blanket apology during a press conference last month, but never admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs, and said due to legal issues he wouldn't talk about his testimony given following the 2003 season. He has said on numerous occasions he told the grand jury the truth and has been cooperating with authorities.
Bonds and Gary Sheffield also testified before the grand jury and are also at the center of the BALCO steroids controversy, but they weren't subpoenaed to testify.
A total of 11 subpoenas were issued last week. Sammy Sosa, Curt Schilling, Frank Thomas and Rafael Palmeiro are the other current players who have been called upon, while Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire were the former players subpoenaed.
Union head Donald Fehr, MLB executive VPs Rob Manfred and Sandy Alderson were also called to testify, along with San Diego Padres general manager Kevin Towers. Commissioner Bud Selig announced on Monday he would testify.
The hearing, scheduled for 10 a.m. (et), is entitled, "Restoring Faith in America's Pastime: Evaluating Major League Baseball's efforts to Eradicate Steroid Use."
Major League Baseball sent hundreds of pages of documents related to their testing program to the committee for review.
Selig announced earlier this month that in four years of testing under the minor league program, the positive rates have gone from 11 percent of all players to under two percent last year. Under the 2002 negotiated major league program, the results after one year of remedial testing have dropped from between 5-7 percent to under two percent.
MLB has fought the subpoenas and it's still not known if all the players called upon to testify will appear. It's also not known if immunity will be offered to any witness who testifies during the hearing.
If Canseco does take the stand, his testimony could fan the flames of allegations of steroid use by several players. Last month brought the official release of his book entitled, "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big." In it, Canseco, admits to using steroids during his career and accuses a number of ex-teammates -- notably Giambi, McGwire, Ivan Rodriguez, Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez -- of also using steroids.