Alex Rodriguez has become the latest face of U.S. Major League Baseball's growing problem with the use of banned performance enhancing drugs. The highest paid player in baseball recently admitted that from 2001 through 2003, he used substances now banned from the sport. Rodriguez has spoken out again about his drug use.
The 33-year-old New York Yankees star has provided more details about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. He was hoping to repair his tarnished image during a brief meeting with the media on Tuesday at the team's training facility in Tampa, Florida.
"I know that I am in position where I have to earn my trust back," said Alex Rodriguez. "And over time I am confident that at the end of my career that people will see this for what it is, a stupid mistake and a lesson learned for a guy with a lot of baseball to play."
Rodriguez says his cousin injected him with an over-the-counter substance bought from the Dominican Republic to gain an energy boost. For years he had denied using performance-enhancing drugs. But "Sports Illustrated" magazine reported he was on a list of 104 players who tested positive during baseball's 2003 survey of drug use in the sport. The survey was intended to remain confidential.
Rodriguez says he has not taken banned substances for about six years.
"I stopped taking the substance for several reasons," he said. "In 2003, I had a serious neck injury. And it scared me half to death. I was scared for my career. And truly my career after baseball."
The Yankees slugger says fans and his teammates should have faith in his abilities because he has played perhaps better baseball after his drug use.
"Since that time I have been tested regularly," said Rodriguez. "I have taken urine tests consistent with Major League Baseball and blood tests for the World Baseball Classic. Before I walked out here today, I took a test as part of my physical [for the upcoming season]. And I will take another blood test next week for the [next World Baseball] Classic."
Rodriguez, a three-time American League Most Valuable Player, is 12th on baseball's career home run list with 553. That is 209 behind leader Barry Bonds, who is accused of steroid use and failed to get a contract to play last season.
When asked whether his statistics during the years he used banned drugs should count, Rodriguez said it is not for him to decide.