December 16, 2007 / 4:50 AM / 10 years ago

Yankees' Pettitte admits to using growth hormone

<p>New York Yankees starting pitcher Andy Pettitte delivers a pitch in Cleveland, October 5, 2007. Pettitte said on Saturday that he used human growth hormone in 2002 but did so on only two occasions. REUTERS/Tony Dejak/Pool</p>

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte said on Saturday that he used human growth hormone in 2002 but did so on only two occasions.

Pettitte was one of 86 Major League players named on Thursday in the Mitchell Report as having used performance-enhancing substances.

“If what I did was an error in judgment on my part, I apologize,” Pettitte said in a statement on the Yankees’ Web site. “I accept responsibility for those two days.”

Pettitte said he used HGH while on the disabled list with an elbow injury in order to speed up his recovery. The drug was not banned by Major League Baseball at the time but was still illegal.

Pettitte and team mate and close friend Roger Clemens were named in the report.

“I had heard that human growth hormone could promote faster healing for my elbow,” Pettitte said. “I felt an obligation to get back to my team as soon as possible. For this reason, and only this reason, for two days I tried human growth hormone.”

Former assistant Yankees trainer Brian McNamee said in the Mitchell report that he injected Pettitte two to four times.

“Though it was not against baseball rules, I was not comfortable with what I was doing, so I stopped,” Pettitte said. “This is it -- two days out of my life, two days out of my entire career, when I was injured and on the disabled list.”

Pettitte described reports he used drugs on other occasions as “nonsense, wrong and hurtful.”

The Yankees also issued a statement.

“We support his coming forward,” it said.

There were 22 current and former Yankees players on the list of 86 names.

Pettitte recently agreed a one-year, $16 million contract to return to the Yankees next season.

Writing by Mike Shalin; Editing by Ed Osmond

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