By TERI THOMPSON
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Posted Friday, May 18th 2007, 4:00 AM
For the last four years, Jason Giambi has been the one BALCO defendant who didn't deny to the grand jury that he ever used steroids or human growth hormone, but yesterday, he went a step further.
Giambi said he believes Major League Baseball should have apologized long ago for its widespread drug problem.
"I was wrong for doing that stuff," Giambi admitted to USA Today before the Yankees played the White Sox yesterday. "What we should have done a long time ago was stand up - players, ownership, everybody - and said: 'We made a mistake.'"
Before yesterday, Giambi had not publicly admitted taking steroids, even though he had offered an oblique apology before the start of the 2005 season.
"We should have apologized back then and made sure we had a rule in place and gone forward. ... Steroids and all of that was a part of history. But it was a topic that everybody wanted to avoid. Nobody wanted to talk about it."
After testifying in December 2003 before the same grand jury in San Francisco investigating steroid use in baseball that Barry Bonds appeared before, Giambi finally apologized in the spring of 2005 for his involvement in BALCO. But he would not say exactly what he was apologizing for. "I can't get into specifics," he said then.
In September 2004, after a season in which Giambi slumped badly, the Daily News first reported that Giambi was suffering from a benign tumor in his pituitary gland. The News said that Giambi's treatment involved steroids that were not performance-enhancing.
Giambi said yesterday he was grateful for MLB's drug testing program and added that he does not use one of the drugs baseball does not test for - HGH.
"Unfortunately, (the rumors) are going to be a part of it. But that's OK. I'm probably tested more than anybody else. I'm not hiding anything. That stuff didn't help me hit home runs. I don't care what people say, nothing is going to give you that gift of hitting a baseball."
When asked why he took steroids, Giambi said, "Maybe one day I'll talk about it, but not now."