Rodriguez admits to using steroids
Rodriguez admitted to using PEDs from 2001-2003, his three seasons in Texas
A-Rod: "When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure"
Rodriguez: "I don't know exactly what substance I was guilty of using"
NEW YORK (SI.com) -- Alex Rodriguez has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-2003, ESPN is reporting.
Those were the first three seasons of Rodriguez's then-record 10-year, $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers. Rodriguez won his first AL MVP award in '03, his last year with the Rangers, before being traded to the Yankees prior to the start of the 2004 season.
On Saturday, Sports Illustrated broke the news that Rodriguez had tested positive for two anabolic steroids in 2003. When reached for comment at a Miami gym last Thursday, Rodriguez told an SI reporter "You'll have to talk to the union" and "I'm not saying anything."
During the interview with ESPN's Peter Gammons, Rodriguez said, "When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure, felt all the weight of the world on top of me to perform and perform at a high level every day. Back then, it was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naive and I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth, you know, being one of the greatest players of all time. And I did take a banned substance. For that, I'm very sorry and deeply regretful. And although it was the culture back then in major league baseball overall ... it was very ... I just feel that ... I'm just sorry. I'm sorry for that time, I'm sorry to my fans, I'm sorry to my fans in Texas. It wasn't until then that I thought about substance of any kind, and since then I've proved to myself and to everyone that I don't need any of that."
When asked if his usage took place from 2001-2003, Rodriguez said, "That's pretty accurate."
Gammons then asked, "What kind of substances were you taking?"
Rodriguez responded, in part, "It was such a loosey-goosey era. I'm guilty for a lot of things, for being negligent, na´ve, not asking the right questions. To be quite honest I don't know exactly what substance I was guilty of using."
Rodriguez tested positive for testosterone and Primobolan, an injected or orally administered drug. According to SI's report, Primobolan "is detectable for a shorter period of time than the steroid previously favored by players, Deca-Durabolin."
Steroids have been banned in baseball since 1991, but there was no testing for it until 2003, when survey testing was done to determine if the game needed to adopt a permanent testing policy. Rodriguez's name was on a list of 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. There were no penalties for players who tested positive and the names of those players were supposed to remain anonymous, but federal agents, using search warrants, seized those test results from one of the two labs MLB had used in connection with the '03 testing as part of the government's BALCO investigation.
According to the Mitchell Report, which investigated steroid use in Major League Baseball and was released in late 2007, Gene Orza, the chief operating officer of the players union, tipped off a player about an upcoming drug test that was supposed to be unannounced, violating an agreement with MLB. That player was not named in the report, but three major leaguers told SI that Rodriguez was also tipped by Orza in early September 2004 that he would be tested later that month. The MLBPA refused that claim on Saturday. When asked about it by an SI reporter last week, Orza said, "I'm not interested in discussing this information with you."
In a 2007 60 Minutes interview with Katie Couric, Rodriguez flatly denied ever taking steroids. "For the record, have you ever used steroids, human growth hormone or any other performance-enhancing substance?" Couric asked.
"No," said Rodriguez. "I've never felt overmatched on the baseball field. I've always been a very strong, dominant position. And I felt that if I did my work since I was, you know, a rookie back in Seattle, I didn't have a problem competing at any level. So, no."
Rangers owner Tom Hicks, who took over the team in 1998, was shocked by Rodriguez's admission.
"I feel personally betrayed. I feel deceived by Alex," Hicks said in a conference call. "He assured me that he had far too much respect for his own body to ever do that to himself.
"I certainly don't believe that if he's now admitting that he started using when he came to the Texas Rangers, why should I believe that it didn't start before he came to the Texas Rangers?"
In 2000, his last year in Seattle, Rodriguez batted .316 with 41 home runs and 132 RBIs. In 2001, his first season in Texas, Rodriguez set a career high with 52 home runs while batting .318 with a .622 slugging percentage, the second-highest number of his career. The following season, he established a new career high with 57 home runs, adding 142 RBIs and a .623 slugging percentage. In 2003, he dropped to .298 with 47 home runs and 118 RBIs and a .600 slugging percentage. In 2004, when Rodriguez says he was not taking any performance-enhancing drugs, he hit .286 with 36 homers, 106 RBIs and a .512 slugging percentage and .375 on-base percentage. The latter two numbers were his lowest single-season marks since 1999.
Rodriguez has won three American League MVP awards, in 2003, 2005 and 2007. He is a two-time Gold Glover and a 12-time All-Star.
Rodriguez was traded to the Yankees in February 2004. After the 2007 season, he opted out of his contract before signing a new 10-year deal that, with incentives, could be worth over $300 million. Two sources familiar with the contract told SI that there is no language about steroids in the contract that would put Rodriguez at risk of losing money.
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