NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. -- David Wright's squeaky clean image is often the first thing to preclude him from discussions of baseball's problems. Rumors of steroids -- or anything like them -- steer well clear of Wright, and for good reason. He is, in many ways, the poster child for a new generation of ballplayers.
To believe that all players should follow such a moral code represents an ideal, and a thought concurrent with what the game is ultimately trying to achieve. To Wright, that achievement has arrived.
"This stuff doesn't go on anymore in baseball," Wright said Wednesday. "Maybe it's me being naive, but I don't think that guys are trying to beat the system now in baseball. I think that's behind us."
Wright's words stemmed from a discussion of former Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca, who the Mitchell Report linked to performance-enhancing substances in December. The two had been good friends on Mets teams in the past, though friendship has little to do with one of baseball's most pressing issues.
"He's a guy that I would go to battle for any day," Wright said. "But when you're talking about steroids, you're talking about something that's illegal, something that I could never -- no matter how close a friend it is -- condone."
Lo Duca, now with the Nationals, was mentioned in the Mitchell Report for allegedly purchasing shipments of human growth hormone from former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski as recently as 2004, and introducing several other players to Radomski. Two years later, Lo Duca joined the Mets.
Major League Baseball is doing its part to rid the game of suspected users, launching a Department of Investigations earlier this month. And while Wright is a fan of MLB's work -- "We're weeding out the cheaters," he said -- he also made it clear that he doesn't consider today's players much of a threat.
Instead, his hope is that even those already implicated may not be so guilty, after all.
"I'd like to think that maybe there's some fabrication, that maybe it's not all true," Wright said. "But I've said it from day one, whether it's my best friend in the game or whoever, if they get caught and if they fail a drug test ... there should be a harsh penalty."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.