Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs between 2001 and 2003, when he was a member of the Texas Rangers.  The three-time American League Most Valuable Player made the admission on Monday in an exclusive interview with the cable sports television network, ESPN.

Alex Rodriguez admitted that he took the substances because of the pressure of being baseball's highest-paid player after getting a 10-year, $252-million contract when he was signed by the Rangers in December of 2000.   

"I felt like I had all of the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform - and perform at a high level every day," said Alex Rodriguez. "I was young, I was stupid, I was naive and I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth it - being one of the greatest players of all time."

The 33-year-old third baseman, who was traded to the Yankees in 2004, had previously denied using performance enhancers.  But on Monday, he admitted it and apologized to his fans.

"I did take a banned substance," he said. "For that I am very sorry and deeply regretful.  And although it was a culture back then, I just feel sorry for that time, sorry to my fans, I am sorry for my fans in Texas.  It was not until then that I ever thought about a substance of any kind."   

The admission came two days after Sports Illustrated magazine reported that Rodriguez was one of 104 players who returned a positive result during baseball's survey drug testing in 2003.  The testing was supposed to remain anonymous and was not subject to discipline.  Rodriguez confirmed that he was guilty of taking the performance-enhancers, but he denies even knowing what drugs he took.

"I am guilty for a lot of things," said Rodriguez. "I am guilty for being negligent, naive, not asking all the right questions.  To be quite honest, I do not know exactly what substance I was guilty of using."

Rodriguez 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.