The Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine - Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell is confident his investigation into steroid use in baseball will yield the truth of what went on, even though players aren't rushing to cooperate.

Mitchell said his investigators have talked to hundreds of witnesses and reviewed thousands of documents. He said the investigation, while proceeding "at full steam," is being slowed down because he does not have the power to subpoena witnesses or documents, making its work "extremely difficult."

"I believe that despite my lack of subpoena power ... that we'll have a comprehensive report," Mitchell said Thursday. "What the lack of subpoena power means is it will take longer, not that it will significantly alter the result."

Mitchell, who visited the state Capitol to discuss his scholarship program and meet with politicians, told baseball owners last month that he needs and expects cooperation. He said it's up to Congress to decide if and when to get involved.

A former federal judge, Mitchell said the use of performance-enhancing drugs not only is a federal crime, but also "an egregious form of cheating."

"And the principal victims of the cheating are the players who don't cheat," said Mitchell, adding that the majority of players, who don't cheat, are placed at a competitive disadvantage when other players use drugs.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig hired Mitchell just before the 2006 season, following allegations against Barry Bonds and others. Baseball and its union did not agree to ban performance-enhancing drugs until after the 2002 season.

"This investigation is not just about Barry Bonds. It's about the whole sport, the whole subject, and everybody about whom allegations have been made and whom I would consider including in my report will be given an opportunity to hear the allegations against them and respond to them in a personal meeting with me," Mitchell said. "Everyone will have the chance to come in and say what the facts are and respond to any allegations."

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