Former AL MVP Alex Rodriguez is currently serving a season-long suspension for violating MLB’s ban on performance enhancing drugs. While it has been great to see him ripped away from the headlines in lieu of those giving it their all on the baseball diamond, the Rodriguez saga draws on.
A new book by Tim Elfrink of the Miami New Times and Gus Garcia-Roberts of New York Newsday indicates that Major League Baseball gave Rodriguez an exemption to use performance enhanching drugs back in 2007 and 2008. Excerpts from the book appear in the new issue of Sports Illustrated (h/t Bleacher Report).
Before the 2007 season, Rodriguez asked for permission to use testosterone, which has been banned by baseball since 2003. The IPA in ’07 was Bryan W. Smith, a High Point, N.C., physician. (Baseball did not yet have the advisory medical panel.) On Feb. 16, 2007, two days before Rodriguez reported to spring training, Smith granted the exemption, allowing Rodriguez to use testosterone all season.
This exemption was apparently revealed during Rodriguez’s grievance hearing against MLB back in 2013. It goes on to say that Rodriguez was one of only two players granted an exemption androgen deficiency medications, which includes testosterone.
MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred had this to say about testosterone during the grievance hearing last fall.
The mother of all anabolics” and said that exemptions for the substance are “very rare,” partly because “some people who have been involved in this field feel that with a young male, healthy young male, the most likely cause of low testosterone requiring this type of therapy would be prior steroid abuse.”
But Rodriguez was one that MLB gave an exemption to.
This raises a ton of questions about whether MLB was just pandering to the media during the whole Biogenesis scandal and actually complicit in the use of PEDs in the past. Remember, MLB was taken to task by the United States Congress years ago when news broke that now retired former All-Stars had partaken in Steroid abuse. Any sign that it potentially played a role in Rodriguez’s apparent PED abuse could be a black eye for Bud Selig and Co.
And it wasn’t a one-time thing.
In January 2008, according to the arbitration hearing transcripts, he requested two exemptions. Rodriguez wanted to use clomiphene citrate (Clomid), a drug designed to increase fertility in women. It is also prescribed to men who suffer from hypogonadism — a testosterone deficiency — to block the production of estrogen in their bodies.
Rodriguez was then given an exemption to use clomiphene citrate that season.
This is a moving story with so many parts, but MLB may need to publicly address the information leaked in this new book. It can’t be linked to any scandel involving Rodriguez, especially after suspending him for the entire 2014 season.
Photo: ABC News