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PLAYERS MENTIONED IN DRUG PROBE TO REMAIN UNKNOWN

A federal magistrate Friday rejected a request by the Associated Press to reveal the names of players allegedly implicated in drug use by former pitcher Jason Grimsley.

The AP asked the court to reveal names marked out in a sworn statement the IRS used to support last year's warrant to search Grimsley's home. It was opposed by the U.S. attorney's office and baseball's players' union.

The AP contended Thursday that the public had a right to access the entire document. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Parella said the investigation has spread far beyond BALCO and includes track and field athletes and pro football and baseball athletes.

Edward Voss ruled possible damage to the investigation outweighed First Amendment rights but indicated his ruling could change once it ends.

"We're disappointed and not at all persuaded that disclosing the names at this late date could hurt any investigation ...," said Dave Tomlin, AP's associate general counsel.

AP has not decided if to appeal.

Interim U.S. Attorney Scott Schools declined comment.

Former player David Segui told ESPN in June 2006 that he was one of the names. The Los Angeles Times later reported the Yankees' Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte and Orioles' Miguel Tejada, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons also were named. Players in the Los Angeles Times report denied using steroids. Grimsley has not commented.

A ruling has not come in a case filed by Hearst. It seeks names shared by federal investigators with MLB's investigation and is based on its investigation of ex-Mets clubhouse employee Kirk Radomski, who allegedly distributed steroids to major-leaguers.

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