Rodriguez provides additional details of steroid use
A-Rod maintains his steroid use only took place from 2001-03
Rodriguez says an unnamed cousin first introduced him to "Boli"
He claims he took an injection roughly twice a month for three years
NEW YORK (SI.com) -- In a lengthy press conference at the Yankees spring training complex in Tampa, Fla., Alex Rodriguez gave additional details and information about his use of performance-enhancing drugs, which he maintains took place only between 2001 and 2003.
Rodriguez says a cousin, whom he would not identify, first introduced him to a substance he referred to as "Boli" that could be purchased in the Dominican Republic and brought to the United States.
"It was his understanding it would give me a dramatic energy boost and was otherwise harmless," Rodriguez said in a prepared statement before the question and answer portion of his press conference. "My cousin and I, one more ignorant than the other, decided it was a good idea to start taking it. We consulted no one and it was pretty evident that we didn't know what we were doing. We did everything we could to keep it between us. I stopped taking it in 2003 and haven't taken it since. I stopped taking it for several reasons. In 2003 I had a serious neck injury and it scared me half to death. I was scared for my career and my life after baseball. Second after players voted for a mandatory drug policy, I realized how serious this all was and I decided to stop then."
Rodriguez says he took injections of the over-the-counter substance roughly twice a month for three years while he was playing for the Texas Rangers.
"I didn't think they were steroids. That's part of being young and stupid. It was over-the-counter. It was really amateur hour. We went outside team doctors, team doctors and team trainers. It was two guys doing a very amateur and immature thing. We probably didn't even take it right. We used to do it about two times a month and I'm not even sure we did it right to affect us in the right way.
"All these years I never thought I did anything wrong."
Rodriguez stood by his previous statements that he did not take any banned substances before or after joining the Rangers. "My mistake has nothing to do with where I played," he said. "My mistake was because I was immature and I was stupid. I blame myself. For a week here I keep looking for people to blame and I keep looking at myself."
Among the other topics A-Rod discussed:
On what he thought the benefits were of taking those substances: "I'm not sure. I will say this: When you take any substance, especially in baseball it's half mental and half physical. If you take this glass of water and say you'll be a better baseball player, you probably will be. I'd say I felt more energy but it's hard to say."
On how he could not have known more about what he was taking: "I wish I knew. I was [25 to 28 years old], I was pretty naÔve. Initially I was curious. I just gave it a try."
On whether he had taken amphetamines or human growth hormone: "No on the human growth hormone. What I used to take a lot in the Seattle days was something called Ripped Fuel, which has since been banned by MLB."
On why he remained so secretive about what he was taking: "I knew we weren't taking Tic Tacs. I knew it potentially could be something that perhaps was wrong, but I really didn't get into the investigation perhaps like I would've. But again, when you're curious and you're ignorant, there's a lot of things you don't tell a lot of people, not just that and that was one of those things I decided not to share with anyone."
On what he thought about commissioner Bud Selig saying he "shamed the game": "I certainly made a mistake and I feel poorly for [that]."
On Feb. 7, Sports Illustrated broke the news that Rodriguez had tested positive for testosterone and Primobolan in 2003. In an interview with ESPN last week, Rodriguez admitted to taking a banned substance, blaming himself for being young and stupid, a criticism he frequently leveled at himself during Tuesday's press conference.
Primobolan is, according to the New York Times, a drug that is illegal to sell and market in the United States. Gary Wadler, a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency, told the Times last week that if the drug is injected it can be detected for almost two weeks, but if taken orally it might be detectable for less than a day, while the performance-enhancing effects last far longer.
Rodriguez's positive test came during survey testing in 2003 that was supposed to be anonymous as the player's union and Major League Baseball tried to determine whether full-blown testing was needed in the game. Those test results ware seized by federal agents in April 2004 in connection to their investigation into BALCO. There are no punishments for players who tested positive during that time period.
Several members of the Yankees organization were present, including the four homegrown members of the Yankees dynasty seated in the front row: Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada. At the end of his opening statement, Rodriguez started to address his teammates but quickly became too emotional to speak. After a long pause followed by a sip of water, he simply said, "Thank you."
Rodriguez later composed himself enough to say, "Like I said earlier, this has been a very difficult day to get through and without you being here it would be impossible. I thank you and I love you. It will be the best season of our lives."
Rodriguez is a three-time AL MVP, winning his first in 2003 with the Rangers and two more since being traded to the Yankees in February 2004. He has 553 career home runs (11th all-time) and is on pace to break Barry Bonds' career record of 762 home runs.
Asked if he considered taking banned substances to be cheating, Rodriguez said, "That's not for me to determine. I'm here to say I'm sorry and in some ways I wish I went to college and got an opportunity to grow up at my own pace. I guess when you're young and stupid you're young and stupid and I'm guilty of both of those.
Rodriguez acknowledged that he will have to address questions about his statistics and his trustworthiness for the rest of his career. "The only thing I can ask of the American people is to judge me from this day forward," he said.
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