A-Rod: I took over-the-counter substance

February 17, 2009 11:48:47 AM PST
Alex Rodriguez offered new details Tuesday about his performance-enhancing drug use, saying his cousin injected him with an over-the-counter substance to gain an energy boost.

The New York Yankees star said using the banned drug that he said he obtained from the Dominican Republic was a "stupid mistake."

"I knew we weren't taking Tic Tacs," Rodriguez said.

The three-time AL MVP and baseball's highest-paid player met the media 10 days after Sports Illustrated reported that he tested positive in 2003.

Rodriguez started his news conference by reading from a prepared statement. At the end, he paused for 37 seconds, turned to his teammates and said "thank you." Sitting in the front row were Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada.

Ready to ask questions - many questions - were the 150-200 reporters on hand at Steinbrenner Field, where satellite trucks for live transmissions already were set up at dawn.

The drug-related apology has become a near-annual February rite for the Yankees.

Jason Giambi gave an ambiguous one at Yankee Stadium on the eve of spring training in 2005.

Andy Pettitte gave an emotional and lengthy one when he arrived at spring training last year.

Tuesday, it was Rodriguez's turn.

For years, he denied using performance-enhancing drugs. But SI reported he was on a list of 104 players who tested positive during baseball's 2003 survey. SI identified the drugs causing the positive test as Primobolan and testosterone.

The survey was to remain anonymous, but federal agents seized the records and samples from baseball's contractors in April 2004 during raids in connection with the BALCO probe in San Francisco. Although the agents originally had search warrants for the records of 10 players, they discovered the broader records and came back with additional search warrants.

The list of players is under seal, but those seizures remain in dispute. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals currently considering the government's appeal to overturn lower-court decisions in favor of the union.

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