Baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez has admitted he used performance enhancing drugs in 2003 and joins home-run king Barry Bonds and star pitcher Roger Clemens on the list of stars whose feats have been clouded by doping accusations.
AFP - Major League Baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez admitted Monday in an interview with ESPN that he took performance-enhancing drugs while playing for the Texas Rangers from 2001 into 2003.
Rodriguez, now a third baseman for the New York Yankees, made the admission to the sports television network two days after Sports Illustrated magazine's website reported "A-Rod" had tested positive for steroids in 2003.
"I did take a banned substance. For that, I am very sorry and deeply regretful," Rodriguez said.
A 12-time All-Star whose parents immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic, Rodriguez was traded from Texas to the Yankees in 2004, three years into a then record 10-year contract worth 252 million dollars.
"I had just signed this enormous contract," Rodriguez said. "I felt like I needed something, a push, without over-investigating what I was taking, to get me to the next level."
Rodriguez, who inked a 10-year deal with the Yankees in 2007 worth 275 million dollars, said he took steroids from the time he started playing for the Rangers through 2003, when he was the American League Most Valuable Player.
"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," Rodriguez said.
"Back then, (there) was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naive. I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time."
Instead, Rodriguez joined a list of tarnished stars whose feats have been clouded by doping accusations, one that includes US all-time home run king Barry Bonds and star pitcher Roger Clemens.
Bonds faces a perjury trial next month for lying to a grand jury when he said he did not take performance-enhancing drugs. Clemens is being investigated for possibly lying under oath to US lawmakers when saying he was clean.
The magazine report cited four anonymous sources who claimed Rodriguez was among 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing substances in 2003 as part of a pilot test program whose results were meant to stay secret.
Investigators into the BALCO steroid scandal wound up obtaining the testing results and the list of names linked to the samples, opening the door to the revelation of Rodriguez and potentially more than 100 other dope cheats.
"I'm sorry for that time. I'm sorry for my Texas years. I apologize to the fans," Rodriguez said. "It wasn't until then I thought about substances of any kind and since then I've proven to everyone that I didn't need those things.
"I'm guilty for being negligent, for not asking all the right questions. To be honest I don't know what substances I was guilty of using."
Rodriguez tested positive for the anabolic steroids Primobolan and testosterone, according to the SI report.
The 2003 results led to the current Major League Baseball anti-doping plan, one that has been twice toughened under pressure from US lawmakers aimed at cleaning up the American pastime after high-profile scandals from the era.
Rodriguez, the AL Most Valuable Player in 2005 and 2007 for the Yankees, hit a league-best 47 homers in 2003 and with 553 career homers was seen as a likely candidate to eclipse Bonds as the all-time homer king.
"All my years in New York has been clean," Rodriguez said.
During the 2001-2003 span, Rodriguez averaged 52 homers and 161 games a season. In his other 10 major league seasons, "A-Rod" averages 39 homers and 148 games.
Rodriguez said that after a pre-season training injury in 2003 he stopped taking any performance-enhancing drugs.
"It wasn't a real dramatic day," Rodriguez said. "I started experimenting with things that, today, are not legal, that today are not accepted... ever since that incident happened, I realized that I don't need any of it."
Rodriguez hopes he can start to draw a final curtain on the steroid era of baseball, which had no anti-steroid plan in place until the 2003 survery program launched one.
"I was stupid for three years. I was very, very stupid," Rodriguez said. "It has been a long 15 months for me. The more honest we can all be, the quicker we can get baseball to where it needs to be."
Date created : 2009-02-09