Capitals

Feds: Steelers ex-doc prescribed illegal steroids

Feds: Steelers ex-doc prescribed illegal steroids

PITTSBURGH (AP) A former Pittsburgh Steelers doctor who left the team after investigators questioned his bulk purchase of anabolic steroids has been indicted for illegally prescribing the muscle-building aids and other drugs.

Federal authorities don't list the team or its players as having gotten the substances from Dr. Richard Rydze, who was charged in a 185-count indictment with conspiracy to illegally distribute steroids, human growth hormone and painkillers including oxycodone.

The 62-year-old physician also is charged with health care fraud. Authorities said he falsely diagnosed more than 90 patients with pituitary dwarfism so they could receive human growth hormones and drugs meant to counteract the side-effects of steroid use. The FBI contends the patients were normal-sized adults who didn't need such substances.

Rydze and his attorney declined to comment after his initial appearance before a federal magistrate in Pittsburgh on Friday afternoon. The doctor will remain jailed until Monday, when U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Mitchell must decide whether Rydze should stay behind bars until trial.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Carol Skutnik told Mitchell she will ask for continued detention because Rydze has continued to prescribe drugs ``10 to 15 times'' in recent weeks despite losing his federal license to do so in July.

Public defender Michael Novara told Mitchell he believes Rydze should be freed because the doctor is a ``lifelong, law-abiding, well respected member of the community.''

Rydze has been under a legal microscope before.

Prosecutors in Albany, N.Y., said he was on the customer list of an Orlando, Fla., pharmacy that was raided in February 2007 as part of an interstate steroids ring. Rydze was questioned then about buying $150,000 worth of testosterone and human growth hormone on his credit card in 2006, but was not charged in that investigation.

After the Florida raids, Steelers president Dan Rooney issued a statement saying: ``There is no evidence that Dr. Rydze prescribed or provided any hormone treatments to any of our players. Dr. Rydze has assured me that this has never happened and will never happen.''

Rooney also said then the team would ``continue to monitor this situation to make sure that we can continue to feel confident in our medical staff in this area.'' The team dropped Rydze from its roster of doctors without explanation in June 2007.

Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said Friday that the team wouldn't comment on the charges against Rydze but stands by Rooney's statements five years ago.

Rydze's patient base was so broad in Pittsburgh that federal authorities took the unusual step of having FBI agents from Ohio investigate, said Michael Tobin, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Cleveland. Prosecutors from Cleveland will also try the case, though that will occur before a federal judge in Pittsburgh, Tobin said.

``He was an everybody-in-town-knows-him type of guy,'' Tobin said, explaining the decision to use outside investigators.

Tobin declined to comment on whether Rydze's ties to the Steelers played a role in that decision.

The indictment doesn't list the names of any patients, and prosecutors wouldn't say if Rydze illegally supplied players with steroids or other drugs.

``We aren't saying anything one way or another, and the indictment doesn't say one way or the other, either,'' Tobin said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach issued a statement saying Rydze used ``his prescription pad like a personal ATM, doling out steroids, painkillers and other medicine for his own gain.'' Investigators found Rydze personally received $301,000 in commissions from one pharmacy he worked with and his practice received $146,000.

Rydze is charged with conspiring with James Hatzimbes, 42, to distribute steroids and human growth hormone from September 2007 through March 2011. The doctor also is charged with illegally prescribing painkillers to another man, William Zipf, 56, and his relatives during a slightly longer time frame, March 2007 through January of this year.

Hatzimbes ran a business called HSE Salon and Wellness Center in Pittsburgh and worked with Rydze to schedule ``steroid clinics'' every other week at which people were falsely diagnosed with conditions that required steroids and growth hormones.

Online records don't list attorneys for the co-defendants, and the number to Hatzimbes' spa was disconnected Friday.

Hatzimbes is also one of the people Rydze allegedly diagnosed with dwarfism. The FBI said Hatzimbes actually is 6 feet tall.

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Capitals deal Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik ahead of the draft

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NBC Sports Washington

Capitals deal Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik ahead of the draft

DALLAS—The Capitals have dealt backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer and veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round pick, the team announced shortly before the NHL Draft kicked off Friday at American Airlines Center.

GM Brian MacLellan was widely expected to deal Grubauer, a 26-year-old who wanted the opportunity to be a No. 1. As a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who was also coming off a strong season, Grubauer was due a significant raise.

“We would like to thank Brooks and Philipp for all of their contributions to our organization,” MacLellan said in a statement. “Philipp has been a consummate professional and a great teammate and we wish him all the best.”

Trading Orpik, on the other hand, was a bit unexpected, particularly considering how much 37-year-old’s play and leadership meant to the Caps during their run to the Stanley Cup.

By dealing Orpik, MacLellan shed the 37-year-old’s $5.5 million cap hit for next season—an important development given the Caps’ tight salary cap situation and the number of key players who need new contracts. John Carlson, Michal Kempny and Jakub Jerabek are unrestricted free agents, while Tom Wilson, Devante Smith-Pelly, Travis Boyd and Madison Bowey are restricted free agents.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Avalanche are expected to help Orpik land or a preferred spot, whether via trade or buyout. By taking on Orpik in the deal, Friedman reported, the Avs only had to give up one pick.

“Brooks,” MacLellan continued, “was a great leader and a tremendous role model for our young players in his four years with our organization. This was a difficult move, but the one we felt we needed to make in order to give some flexibility moving forward.”

Will moving out Grubauer and eliminating Orpik’s cap charge allow MacLellan to re-sign Carlson, who's set to become the top defenseman on the free agent market? That’s unclear—even with the salary cap ceiling going up to $79.5 million—but it sure helps the Caps’ cause.

Dealing Orpik also opens up a spot for a young and inexpensive defenseman such as Christian Djoos or Madison Bowey to take on a bigger role in 2018-19.

Without Grubauer, the Caps are likely to turn to Pheonix Copley as their backup next season. And if Copley, who is due to earn the NHL minimum of $650,000 next season, starts the year in Washington, that allows 2015 first round pick Ilya Samsonov to take the reins in Hershey.

The second round pick the Caps received in exchange for Grubauer and Orpik is the 47th overall selection.

MacLellan is expected to speak to reporters following the first round later Friday night. The Caps currently hold the 31st overall pick.

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Bryce Harper will compete in Home Run Derby, but only on one condition

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USA Today Sports

Bryce Harper will compete in Home Run Derby, but only on one condition

It’s happening.

When the 2018 All-Star Weekend comes to Washington, D.C. in the middle of July, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper will compete in the 2018 Home Run Derby, but only on one condition: He has to be a member of the 2018 National League All-Star Team.

Though Harper is having a down year, only hitting .213 thus far, he leads the NL in home runs with 19.

In the June 18 update of All-Star game voting, Harper sat second among all outfielders with just north of 1,000,000 votes.

That means he’s not only going to make the All-Star team, but he’ll likely start in the outfield.

Harper, a five-time All-Star, competed in the Home Run Derby once before. He was the runner-up to Yoenis Cespedes in 2013, losing by just one long ball, 9-8.

The 2018 Home Run Derby will take place on July 16 at Nationals Park.

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