NEW YORK — Rafael Palmeiro told baseball's arbitration panel that a vitamin he received from Baltimore Orioles teammate Miguel Tejada might have caused his positive test for steroid use.
Palmeiro testified that he received B-12 from Tejada, a person familiar with the grievance hearing said Thursday on condition of anonymity because the proceedings were secret.
"Right now I'm in shock," Tejada, a former American League MVP, said after Baltimore lost to the New York Yankees on Thursday night. "I've never given anybody steroids before. I've been checked out three times already, and I'm clean. I've been clean all my life."
Tejada said he gave Palmeiro the B-12 "a long time ago."
"It doesn't bother me because I'm not guilty. I've done nothing wrong. I just gave him B-12, and B-12 is legal," Tejada said. "You don't get caught for B-12."
Vitamin B-12 helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells, and is commonly found in foods such as fish, meat, poultry and dairy products.
Palmeiro has not publicly discussed details of his testimony, which came during an unsuccessful grievance filed by the players' association to overturn his 10-day suspension, which followed a positive test for stanozolol.
His lawyers, Mayer, Brown, Rowe and Maw LLP, issued a statement Thursday night saying they "are disturbed about the misleading reports being leaked by unnamed sources who claim knowledge of the investigation."
"Rafael Palmeiro has never implicated any player in the intentional use or distribution of steroids, or any other illegal substance, in any interview or testimony," the statement said.
According to the person familiar with the investigation, Palmeiro listed the B-12 as a possible reason for the positive test but did not make any definitive accusation.
Before the game, Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo said that if the first baseman had named a teammate in trying to explain his steroid test, it probably would be best that Palmeiro not return to the team this year.
"If in fact that was true, then it probably would not be a good idea" for Palmeiro to return, Perlozzo said. "It's all speculation as far as I know."
Congressional investigators have been interviewing the Orioles following Palmeiro's 10-day suspension, which began Aug. 1. Palmeiro went 2-for-26 with one RBI after his return, and was sent home by Baltimore on Sept. 5 for rehabilitation on his right knee and left ankle.
"I know that he still would like to come back," Perlozzo said. "He doesn't want to be a distraction and all that. I pretty much told him that as far as I was concerned, it was an organizational decision."
Orioles executive vice president Jim Beattie said no decision would be made until Friday at the earliest.
"We're talking to Raffy right now about that," Beattie said in a telephone interview, saying he didn't want to "comment on hearsay."
Perlozzo didn't discuss with Palmeiro what he may or may not have told the panel. "I did not ask him," he said. "I didn't think that was my job."
Palmeiro's situation is complicated, so Perlozzo wanted the front office to make the decision.
"A lot of things factor in," he said. "Is he going to play or is he not going to play? How much is he going to play? And is it worthwhile to take that chance?"
Arn Tellem, Palmeiro's agent, did not return a telephone call seeking comment. House Government Reform Committee spokesman Dave Marin declined comment.
Congressional investigators looking into whether Rafael Palmeiro lied under oath when he appeared before the House Government Reform Committee in March and testified that he "never used steroids. Period."
Baseball has not said when the positive test occurred.
Palmeiro, who turns 41 on Saturday, is batting .266 with 18 homers and 60 RBIs. He got his 3,000th hit on July 15, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the only players with 3,000 hits and 500 homers. Palmeiro's 569 homers rank him ninth on the career list.