TAMPA, Fla. – Unable to punish Alex Rodriguez for flunking a drug test that was supposed to be anonymous, Bud Selig could only chastise him.
“What Alex did was wrong and he will have to live with the damage he has done to his name and reputation,” the commissioner said Thursday, three days after the Yankees star admitted using banned substances from 2001-2003 while playing for the Texas Rangers.
“While Alex deserves credit for publicly confronting the issue, there is no valid excuse for using such substances, and those who use them have shamed the game,” Selig said.
Rodriguez’s admission followed a Sports Illustrated report that he was on a list of 104 players who tested positive for steroids in 2003, when testing was intended only to determine the extent of steroid use in baseball.
The results were seized by the government in 2004 and remain under seal. Because it was an anonymous test and because Rodriguez’s confession involved years before the drug agreement took effect, there is little Selig can do in terms of punishment.
Players and owners didn’t agree to a joint drug program until August 2002, and testing with punishment didn’t start until 2004.
“It is important to remember that these recent revelations relate to preprogram activity,” Selig said.
“Under our current drug program, if you are caught using steroids and/or amphetamines, you will be punished. Since 2005, every player who has tested positive for steroids has been suspended for as much as 50 games.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi, speaking after his first staff meeting of spring training, said he wasn’t sure whether he wanted Rodriguez to address the team. Position players are due to report Tuesday and start workouts the following day.
“If it’s in his heart, yes, I would, but if it’s not, that’s OK, too,” he said.
Union head Donald Fehr declined to comment on Selig’s statements. Selig did not respond to SI’s allegation that Gene Orza, the union’s chief operating officer, told a player in 2004 that he would be tested Sept. 24. Orza denies tipping off players to drug tests.
Clemens’ suit dismissed
HOUSTON – A federal judge dismissed most of Roger Clemens’ defamation lawsuit against his former personal trainer on Thursday, saying statements made in the Mitchell Report on doping in baseball are protected.
Brian McNamee has told federal agents, baseball investigator George Mitchell and a House of Representatives committee that he injected Clemens more than a dozen times with steroids and human growth hormone from 1998-2001.