March 28, 2006
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Pete Rose backs punishment of baseball players caught using steroids under the major league's new testing policy.
"In my case, I broke the rules and I've been suspended 18 years," said Rose, who agreed to a lifetime ban from baseball following an investigation of his gambling. "So if guys broke the rules the last two years then they have to be handed out some kind of sentence."
Rose, baseball's career hits leader, spoke at a benefit at Moeller High School on Monday, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
One of the topics was Barry Bonds, the subject of a recently released book that details the San Francisco Giants slugger's alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.
"I don't know what he did the last two years. All I know is the guy can hit," said Rose, calling Bonds one of the top five players in baseball history.
Rose, who confessed to betting on the Cincinnati Reds while managing the team in the late 1980s, said he only cares about steroid use since baseball's testing began.
"Here's my take on steroids: We can say anybody took steroids," Rose said. "We don't know. Unless you took steroids the last two years, I don't care."
Rose also addressed the 36-game hitting streak that Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins brings into the season. Rollins could have lost his rhythm at the plate, but doesn't have to worry about tiring as his streak continues, said Rose, who had a 44-game hitting streak in 1978.
"One thing about a hitting streak is the stamina," Rose said.