"A-ROID" Keeps Lips Sealed on Juicing Report

ESPN: A-Rod knew he failed drug test in '03

By Jennifer Millman and Anthony Castellano
|  Sunday, Feb 8, 2009  |  Updated 7:18 PM CDT
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A-ROID

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A-Rod is keeping mum on explaining the positive steroid use in 2003.

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From "A-Fraud" to "A-Roid"

Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez tested positive for anabolic steroids in 2003, when he played for the Texas Rangers, reported Sports Illustrated.

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NEW YORK  — A day after A-Rod was rocked by a steroid scandal, the Yankees slugger has kept silent -- holed up in the Bahamas as critics weigh his future in baseball.

Though A-Rod was mum on the issue, another All-Star offered this suggestion: Make public the entire list of players who failed drug tests.

"I'd be all for the 104 positives being named, and the game moving on if that is at all possible," former Boston ace Curt Schilling wrote on his blog Sunday.

"In my opinion, if you don't do that, then the other 600-700 players are going to be guilty by association, forever," he wrote. "It appears that not only was it 104, but three of the greatest of our, or any, generation appear to be on top of this list."

Rodriguez joined Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens on an ever-growing list of stars tainted by the Steroids Era scandal. Sports Illustrated reported Saturday the Yankees slugger, tested positive for two steroids in 2003.

Rodriguez, the players' union and Major League Baseball were mum Sunday.

"Alex has been out of the country. I expect him back later today and want to confer with my client before saying anything," agent Scott Boras said.

Meanwhile, one recently retired player wanted to know how Rodriguez's name got out. Sean Casey, who spent last season with the Red Sox, said he felt violated by the leak.

"A little bit, because it was supposed to be a survey test and those results were supposed to be confidential," he said. "The only reason we opened up the collective bargaining agreement was on those terms."

Criticss are abuzz with speculation about how the steroid scandal will impact A-Rod's career.

SI.com's Jon Heyman writes A-Rod was tainted by the players union's mistake. The test results were never supposed to have been leaked. They were conducted as part of a joint agreement between the MLB and the union for research purposes -- and although non-presciption steroids were prohibited under the MLB's drug policy at the time, there were no penalties for players who got caught using them.

Heyman cites one player agent who agrees that the union is at fault. "The Players Association screwed up royally,' the agent said Saturday after hearing the steroid list leaked. "They fought for something that didn't mean a thing. Well, now they got [Barry] Bonds. And they got A-Rod. Now we have to wonder: Who else is going to fall?''

That's another topic the sports gurus are talking about. "A-ROID" is just another superhero who had his mask ripped off, some say -- and now he may have lost his shot at the Hall of Fame.

Four different sources told Sports Illustrated that A-Rod tested positive for two anabolic steroids. He was one of 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003 -- the year he won the American League home run title and the AL Most Valuable Player award as shortstop for the Texas Rangers back in 2003. 
 
A-Rod balked when Sports Illustrated first confronted him about the steroid use at a Florida gym last week.

"You'll have to talk to the union," Rodriguez told the reporters.

When asked if he could explain the positive results, A-Rod told them, "I'm not saying anything."

Click here for more reactions to A-Rod's steroid controversy.

Rodriguez's name showed up on the list of players who tested positive in the Major League Baseball's 2003 survey testing. The testing of more than 1,000 players was part of a joint agreement with the MLB Players Association to find out how deep-seeded drug use was and whether mandatory random drug testing should be imposed across the league, according to Sports Illustrated.

A-Rod didn't get in trouble for his positive results because there were no penalties for a positive test in 2003, despite the fact that the MLB's drug policy had prohibited non-prescription steroid use for more than a decade. Sources told ESPN the third-baseman knew he tested positive in 2003.

The revelations heap another helping of embarrassment on Rodriguez's shoulders of late.  

Last month, Rodriguez's former manager Joe Torre released a book that revealed some of the slugger's teammates had referred to Rodriguez as "A-Fraud" because of a  "single white female"-like obsession with Derek Jeter.  

Rodriguez is set to be honored Friday by the University of Miami at a dinner on the infield of Mark Light Field in Coral Gables. He donated $3.9 million to refurbish the baseball complex, which is named Alex Rodriguez Park.

The dinner is expected to be held as scheduled, Miami spokesman Mark Pray said. He said the ceremony with Rodriguez is a part of the school's annual baseball banquet.

How the Secret Got Out

No one was even supposed to find out about the test results outside the parties involved in the agreement. The intent was to keep them anonymous, but the feds seized the tests in 2004 during the government probe of 10 MLB players connected to the BALCO scandal. A-Rod was never linked to BALCO, the company that supplied high-profile athletes with human growth hormone for years, but his test results were seized along with everyone else's.

More than 5 percent of the players tested in 2003 showed up positive, so the MLB imposed random testing with punishments for positive results in 2004. Then A-Rod apparently got a heads up.

MLBPA chief operating officer Gene Orza tipped him off before an upcoming test in September 2004, reported Sports Illustrated. Rodriguez didn't respond to the magazine when asking about the alleged warning, and Orza said, "I'm not interested in discussing this information with you."

The list of 104 players who tested positive in 2003 is under lock and key in California, but four independent sources familiar with the government evidence and testing results told Sports Illustrated that A-Rod's name was on it. He tested positive for testosterone and Primobolan, an anabolic steroid -- and went on to win his third league home run title in a row and an MVP award that year.  

With 553 career home runs, A-Rod is on his way to becoming the MLB's home run king. In 2007, the Yankees signed the 33-year-old to a 10-year deal worth upwards of $305 million, according to Sports Illustrated. But it doesn't appear there will be any cash consequences for Rodriguez's actions. Sources told the magazine there aren't any stipulations in the contract about steroid use that could detract from A-Rod's $275 million in guarantees.

The revelations come at a time when baseball's focus on drugs has concerned Barry Bonds and the legal maneuvering leading to the start of his trial March 2. The government is trying to prove the home run king lied when he told a grand jury he never knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs.

Not the First Time 
 
This is not the first time A-Rod has been linked to steroid speculation. Jose Canseco's 2008 book, "Vindicated," also alleged that the former big league slugger introduced Rodriguez to a known steroids supplier identified only as "Max" in the late 1990s.

At the start of Spring Training in 2008, Rodriguez made comments that he was tested nine to 10 times during the 2007 season. Under the drug policy, each player is tested twice during the season. Further testing takes place if the player is tested positive. Rodriguez said later that night he was over exaggerating to prove a point.

Rodriguez has been approached a few times on the use of steroids, but each time he has debunked the allegations. "I've never felt overmatched on the baseball field," said Rodriguez in a “60 Minutes” interview in December 2007. "I've always been a very strong, dominant position. And I felt that if I did my work as I've done since I was a rookie back in Seattle, I didn't have a problem competing at any level.”

"You hear a lot of things. I mean, I came up in 1993. And you heard whispers from the '80s and '90s. But I never saw anything. I never had raw evidence. And, quite frankly, I was probably a little bit too naïve when I first came up to understand the magnitude of all this," said Rodriguez on the locker room environment toward steroids. 

During the interview, Rodriguez said he had been tested nine or 10 times.

Rodriguez is no stranger to media attention. His tenure with the Yankees has caused his life to be splashed across the gossip pages from photos of him a stripper in Toronto during the 2008 season and his public divorce with his wife along with his relationship with Madonna.

Rodriguez until now has had an offseason dominated by talk of disclosures in Joe Torre's recently released book. The former Yankee manager wrote of the pressure A-Rod puts on himself and the third baseman's need to command the stage. Torre said some in the Yankees clubhouse referred to Rodriguez as "A-Fraud," although Torre made light of that during interviews promoting his book, "The Yankee Years."

The Drugs

Primobolan, also known as methenolone, is an injected or orally administered drug. It improves strength and maintains lean muscle with minimal bulk development and few side effects. Bonds tested positive three times for methenolone, according to court documents unsealed by a federal judge Wednesday.
 
Primobolan is not an approved prescription drug in the United States. Testosterone can be taken legally with a prescription.
 

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