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Byrd says HGH use not cheating

BOSTON — His reputation, his clean-cut image, his stature as one of baseball's good guys, they all took a hit.

And Paul Byrd, the soft-tossing pitcher who prides himself on command and control, couldn't stop it.

Just hours before Game 7 of the AL championship series Sunday, Byrd acknowledged using human growth hormone for a medical condition. But the Cleveland Indians' right-hander claims he never injected the banned drug without a doctor's prescription.

Byrd, whose win in Game 4 of the ALCS moved the Indians within one victory of the World Series, bought nearly $25,000 worth of HGH and syringes from 2002-05, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday.

Byrd bought HGH from a Palm Beach, Fla., anti-aging clinic under investigation by authorities for possible illegal distribution of performance-enhancing drugs, the paper said.

SNOW FORCES ROCKIES INSIDE: Two thoughts crossed Todd Helton's mind when he awoke to a snowstorm Sunday.

"Good hunting weather," the Colorado Rockies first baseman said.

The snowstorm forced the Rockies indoors for their next-to-last workout before flying off to Boston.

YANKEES TO START INTERVIEWS: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was due in Tampa, Fla., on Monday to start interviewing candidates to replace Joe Torre as manager.

Former Florida Marlins manager Joe Girardi, Yankees bench coach Don Mattingly and New York first base coach Tony Pena were the first three candidates invited to interview for the job.