Star Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003, sources report
Alex Rodriguez tested postive for steroids during Major League Baseball's 2003 survey testing season, according to a report released this morning by Sports Illustrated on its Web site.
According to the report, which cites four independent sources, Rodriguez, the American League Most Valuable Player that season with the Texas Rangers and the winner of the home-run title, tested positive for two anabolic steroids.
Rodriguez's name appears on a list of 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in baseball's first season of testing, known as the "survey" season. Those test results, which were administered to determine if baseball needed to impose a drug program, were supposed to be kept confidential. They were seized, however, by government agents investigating the BALCO steroid scandal and have the subject of lengthy litigation in federal court after the Players Association filed a lawsuit contesting the legality of the search. The case is now before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California.
According to the report, when Rodriguez was approached by a reporter on Thursday at a gym in Miami, he declinded to answer questions about his 2003 test. "You have to talk to the union," Rodriguez said. "I'm not saying anything."
The union declined comment on the test.
Two sources familiar with the evidence that the government has gathered and two other sources with knowledge of the testing results told S.I. that Rodriguez tested positive for testosterone and the anabolic steroid Primobolan. Baseball did not impose penalties for testing positive for steroids in 2002, although the league's drug policy prohibited their use without a prescription. MLB banned the use of steroids after the 2003 season.
The case involving the seized tests, U.S. v. Conprehensive Drug Testing, is before an 11-judge panel in the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena. The agents who confiscated the tests had a search warrant only for the results for the 10 BALCO-linked players. Attorneys from the union argue that the government is entitled only to those results, not the entire list. If the court sides with the union, federal authorities may be barred from using the positive survey test results of non-BALCO players such as Rodriguez in their ongoing investigations.
A-Rod has long been the subject of speculation regarding steroids. In his books "Juiced," and "Vindicated, Jose Canseco linked Rodrguez to steroid use and said in "Vindicated" that he had introduced A-Rod to a steroid dealer. Canseco said after the Mitchell Report on drugs in baseball was released that he though Rodriguez should be among the 80 players mentioned in the report as having used steroids.
"All I can say is the Mitchell Report is incomplete," Canseco said. "I could not believe that (Rodriguez's) name was not in the report."
In recent years, Rodriguez has repeatedly denied any use of performance-enhancing drugs.