A lawyer for the University of Miami's former pitching coach said Wednesday that Alex Rodriguez admitted to federal investigators he used steroids supplied by the owner of a now-closed South Florida clinic.
Attorney Frank Quintero Jr., who represents Lazaro "Laser" Collazo in his defence against charges of conspiracy to distribute performance-enhancing drugs, told The Associated Press that the New York Yankees third baseman confessed to steroids use, according to Drug Enforcement Administration documents provided by the government to defence lawyers.
The Miami Herald first reported Rodriguez's admission Wednesday, saying he met with DEA agents on Jan. 29 at the agency's South Florida field office. Given a grant of immunity from prosecution, Rodriguez told investigators he did use banned substances between late 2010 and October 2012 supplied by Anthony Bosch, who owned the Biogenesis of America clinic in Coral Gables.
Rodriguez has publicly denied any use of banned substances during his time with the Yankees, which began in 2004. He admitted in 2009 that he used performance-enhancing drugs while with Texas from 2001-03.
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig suspended Rodriguez for 211 games in August 2013 for violations of the sport's drug agreement and labour contract, and the penalty was cut to the 2014 season in January.
Rodriguez proclaimed his innocence and sued in federal court, then withdrew the suit and accepted the penalty.
The Herald reported Bosch told the DEA that A-Rod agreed to pay for steroids for 20 Biogenesis customers after the clinic closed to keep Bosch from talking about his involvement. That could prompt MLB to investigate whether Rodriguez could be suspended again under the sport's drug agreement for violations related to the sale and distribution of PEDs, which are separate from the prohibitions on personal use.
An attorney for Rodriguez did not immediately respond to a telephone call seeking comment. The Yankees declined comment.
DEA investigating Rodriguez's cousin
The DEA report is among the evidence federal prosecutors have assembled against Rodriguez cousin Yuri Sucart, Collazo and others accused of supplying testosterone and human growth hormone to MLB players and other athletes linked to Biogenesis.
Quintero told the AP he has a copy but cannot release it under federal evidence rules.
"I can for your report confirm that the report by the Herald is accurate as to what Rodriguez said," Quintero said in an email.
Neither the DEA nor the Miami U.S. Attorney's office commented. However, in a separate public court filing, prosecutors made clear Rodriguez would be a star witness if the case against Sucart and the others goes to trial.
"Rodriguez has a prominent role in the government's proof of the ... conspiracies to distribute testosterone and human growth hormone," the prosecutors wrote.
Prosecutors said Rodriguez paid Sucart $900,000 and provided him and his family with medical insurance, a vehicle and a house in return for Sucart's silence regarding Rodriguez's use of banned substances.
According to the Herald, the DEA report goes into great detail about how Rodriguez paid Bosch for testosterone cream and lozenges known as "gummies" and human growth hormone injections into the player's stomach. Bosch has pleaded guilty in the case and is co-operating in the prosecution of the other men.
"Rodriguez said Bosch told him the HGH would help with sleep, weight, hair growth, eyesight and muscle recovery," the newspaper quoted the DEA report as saying. Bosch also gave Rodriguez tips on how to avoid detection in MLB drug tests.
Rodriguez told agents it was Sucart who introduced him in 2010 to Bosch, who falsely posed as a physician nicknamed "Dr. T." Rodriguez paid mainly in cash and Bosch promised secrecy, although he would eventually begin to co-operate with MLB and federal investigators.
In the DEA report, the Herald said Rodriguez admitted he also helped pay for Bosch's criminal defence, including $25,000 as a down payment to retain one attorney.
In total, 14 MLB players were suspended last year following the sport's Biogenesis investigation. None have been charged with crimes.