Did MLB Let A-Rod Use Steroids?


(Image: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)

Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis and the Quest to End Baseball’s Steroid Era is a recently published book by Tim Elfrink and Gus Garcia-Roberts. Elfrink, the managing editor at the Miami New Times, reported on a Miami clinic that was supplying performance enhancing drugs to MLB stars back in January of 2013. Nelson Cruz, Francisco Cervelli, Ryan Braun, and of course Alex Rodriguez among others were suspended by Major League Baseball for a minimum of 50 games last season. A-rod appealed his suspension and finished out the 2013 season, not without facing intense criticism.

It is reported in this book, which will be featured in next week’s Sports Illustrated issue, that Rodriguez was given permission to use testosterone before the 2007 season began. Ironically, he won the MVP award that year hitting 54 home runs with 156 RBIs.

Under the MLB’s drug policy, players are allowed to apply to use certain substances for therapeutic reasons that might be banned. Bryan Smith was the independent program administrator who reportedly granted A-rod an exemption two days before spring training began in 2007. This exemption was cited in the transcript of Rodriguez’s grievance hearing in 2013. According to MLB’s chief operating officer Rob Manfred, testosterone is the biggest anabolic out there and there are very few exceptions that allow players to use it which adds even more sketchiness to this situation.

Rodriguez continued to ask for exemptions even after he was given a 10 year, $275 million contract. He asked for permission to use clomiphene citrate (a drug that can help with testosterone deficiency) and human chorionic gonadotropin (used for weight loss and to produce testosterone). A lot of this is controversial as A-Rod was chasing milestones in the all-time home runs category. Tony Bosch started giving Rodriquez supplements and drawing blood frequently beginning in 2010 as part of the performance-enhancing process as was reported by 60 minutes.

It is obvious that Rodriguez has used PEDs, but the new problem is that he might have been granted permission by the MLB to use them at least for the 2007 season. This doesn’t mean A-rod is innocent or he is not at fault, but this could be a huge problem for Major League Baseball if they gave an MVP-caliber player permission to use performance enhancing drugs.