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Report says Ankiel received HGH

There's yet another cloud of suspicion hovering over a major league baseball player, and this time it's hanging over someone whose comeback has been touted as the feel-good story of the season.

The New York Daily News reported late Thursday on their website that St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel received a 12-month supply of human growth hormone in 2004 from a Florida pharmacy that was part of a national illegal prescription drug-distribution operation. The report states that Ankiel received eight shipments during the year, but stopped receiving HGH just before its use was banned by Major League Baseball in 2005.

Wildness and injury short-circuited Ankiel's career as a pitcher, and he began a comeback as an outfielder in 2005. He finally made it back to the majors on August 9 and hit three homers in his first three games. After yesterday’s two-homer game Ankiel has nine homers in just 81 at-bats since joining the Cardinals.

MLB doesn’t test for HGH but a player who is known to have used it or possessed it from the time it was banned can face a 50-game suspension. So unless Ankiel admits to using it any time from 2005 on, he faces no sanction from MLB. The court of public opinion, however, is another matter. -- Joe Guckin