A package of human growth hormone was delivered to Larry Bigbie's home in Northwest Indiana at Christmastime 2005. Within 10 minutes, federal investigators were at the former Orioles outfielder's door.

Bigbie knew he was busted.

He said he had no choice but to answer questions from the investigators, including Jeff Novitzky, the Internal Revenue Service special agent who made headlines in the Barry Bonds-Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative scandal. Then, for two years after that interrogation, Bigbie waited, mostly in silence, for his testimony to become public.

On Dec.13, 2007, baseball's Mitchell Report was issued, and Bigbie, along with friend and former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, who sent the hGH package to Indiana, were featured as key witnesses.

In two hourlong interviews with The Baltimore Sun over the past week, Bigbie talked about the day he was caught, his reasons for using performance-enhancing drugs, his inclusion in the Mitchell Report and the friendships he has lost because of it.

According to the report, Bigbie implicated former Orioles teammates Jack Cust and Brian Roberts, who were included solely because they allegedly had conversations with Bigbie about steroids. Mitchell investigators also mentioned David Segui, Jason Grimsley, Jay Gibbons and other former Orioles and friends of Bigbie.

Remorse overwhelmed him.

In a shaky, trembling voice, Bigbie called Segui, and he left a message for Gibbons. He didn't have updated contact information for Roberts or Cust, but he asked Gibbons to pass along his apologies to Roberts. He knew his friendships with those former teammates would be damaged forever.

Bigbie wasn't sure exactly what he was sorry for. He felt like he didn't do anything but confirm what investigators already knew. They asked about Roberts and Cust. He believed the feds had the answers before posing the questions.

Now he thinks he understands why they knew so much about him.

'Friend' turns on him
Bigbie is apologetic about using illegal performance-enhancing drugs, which he said he did from 2001 to 2005. But of his mistakes, he most regrets befriending an Orioles fan from Baltimore County, Andrew Michael "Mike" Bogdan.

It was Bogdan, Bigbie believes, who turned him and Radomski over to federal authorities and ultimately brought down majorleague baseball's infamous steroid culture after Bigbie welcomed him into the tight-knit circle of ballplayers.

"This Bogdan guy set me up, that's the part I can be embarrassed about," Bigbie said.

"That I became a friend of a guy like this, who did this to me."

An unemployed, 43-year-old property manager, Bogdan was first identified as the case's key informant recently by The Smoking Gun Web site. It alleged Bogdan gave information to investigators about Bigbie, Radomski and others in exchange for leniency on an unrelated real estate fraud case.

According to an affidavit filed by Novitzky, the unnamed federal informant in the steroid probe previously pleaded guilty to a felony real estate charge. Also, the affidavit and Radomski's new book, Bases Loaded, put the informant with Radomski at a Mets game Sept.30, 2005.

Bogdan, who is serving five years' probation for real estate fraud, acknowledges being at Shea Stadium with Radomski that day. But he has twice told The Baltimore Sun that he was never involved in the steroid sting and has never purchased or used steroids. He said allegations to the contrary made by The Smoking Gun and Bigbie are "ridiculous and totally unfounded."

Bogdan says if Bigbie is putting the blame on him, it's because "Larry has a career to protect."

In response, Bigbie, who played in Japan last season and will likely play in Mexico this year, said: "What career do I have to protect? He pretty much wiped my career out with what he did to me. If he points the finger back to me, that's because it's his only defense."