Alex Rodriguez Tested Positive for Steroids in 2003
According to a Sports Illustrated report, Alex Rodriguez tested positive for two steroids in 2003. The report, by Selena Roberts and David Epstein, says “four sources have independently told Sports Illustrated” that Rodriguez was one of 104 players that tested positive as part of Major League Baseball’s “survey testing” that year. Those results were supposed to be anonymous but were seized by the government in April 2004 as part of the BALCO investigation.
The list of the 104 players whose urine samples tested positive is under seal in California. However, two sources familiar with the evidence that the government has gathered in its investigation of steroid use in baseball and two other sources with knowledge of the testing results have told Sports Illustrated that Rodriguez is one of the 104 players identified as having tested positive, in his case for testosterone and an anabolic steroid known by the brand name Primobolan. All four sources spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the evidence.
Primobolan, or methenolone enanthate, is an anabolic steroid that can be injected or taken orally. It is believed that athletes like Primoblan because it doesn’t stay in your system as long as other steroids such as deca durabolin, and has fewer side effets.
Rodriguez had little to say about the 2003 test results when approached by a Sports Illustrated reporter on February 5th.
“You’ll have to talk to the union,” said Rodriguez, the Yankees’ third baseman since his trade to New York in February 2004. When asked if there was an explanation for his positive test, he said, “I’m not saying anything.”
Also according to the SI report, Rodriguez was warned by MLB Players Association COO, Gene Orza, about an upcoming test in September 2004. SI reportedly spoke to three MLB players who all said Rodriguez had been told about the test.
Because more than 5% of big leaguers had tested positive in 2003, baseball instituted a mandatory random-testing program, with penalties, in ’04. According to the 2007 Mitchell Report on steroid use in baseball, in September 2004, Gene Orza, the chief operating officer of the players’ union, violated an agreement with MLB by tipping off a player (not named in the report) about an upcoming, supposedly unannounced drug test. Three major league players who spoke to SI said that Rodriguez was also tipped by Orza in early September 2004 that he would be tested later that month.
Orza declined to comment about the allegations telling one reporter:
“I’m not interested in discussing this information with you.”
SI reporter, Selena Roberts, is the author of Hit and Run: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez which is set to be released May 19 2009. Roberts wrote extensively about Rodriguez for the New York Times before joining Sports Illustrated.