TAMPA, Fla. — Alex Rodriguez said on Monday that he has been contacted by federal authorities seeking to interview him in connection with their investigation of the Canadian doctor Anthony Galea, who is suspected of distributing performance-enhancing drugs to various athletes.
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In brief remarks issued in the Yankees clubhouse after the team’s workout Monday afternoon, Rodriguez said he did not know when he would meet with authorities but that he intended to cooperate.
Asked by reporters if he had ever been treated by Galea, Rodriguez responded: “I can’t really get into that. You’ll know within time all at the same time.”
General Manager Brian Cashman spoke to reporters after Rodriguez did and said he did not know anything about federal authorities having an interest in Rodriguez until he read about it in newspaper reports on Monday morning.
Cashman said he did not want to comment further until the Yankees “get caught up to speed.”
However, one person in baseball familiar with the sentiments of Yankees executives said they were distressed that Rodriguez had again been linked to the issue of performance-enhancing drugs and that they do not know where the matter will lead. In a s
tatement the Yankees issued about an hour after Rodriguez spoke, they said that they had “never authorized Dr. Tony Galea to treat Alex Rodriguez nor do we have any knowledge of any such treatment” and that they would continue to monitor the situation.
Rodriguez’s remarks to reporters lasted all of 61 seconds. But brief as they were, they thrust the Yankees back into territory they have become painfully familiar with in recent seasons. Jason Giambi‘s links to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative case was a major distraction for the Yankees in 2005.
In 2008, Andy Pettitte was forced to hold a news conference at the start of spring training to address his use of human growth hormone, which had been first disclosed in theMitchell report.
And then one year ago, it was Rodriguez who held a news conference at spring training to elaborate on his use of steroids from a period ranging from 2001 to 2003.
By now, the Yankees have become used to this issue. But the fact that it is back again will undoubtedly rankle team executives, who have had to deal with repeated distractions from Rodriguez involving a whole assortment of subjects since he joined the Yankees for the 2003 season. In Rodriguez’s favor, of course, is that he is coming off a standout postseason in 2009 that helped the Yankees win their first championship in nine years.
During his remarks on Monday Rodriguez was asked whether the Galea investigation would distract him as he prepared for the 2010 season.
“This is about someone else, this is about someone else,” he replied in a reference to Galea. “Like I said, I’m going to cooperate the best I can and focus on baseball.”
Galea, who is based in Toronto, has been charged by Canadian authorities with conspiring to smuggle human growth hormone and other drugs into the United States. He has not been charged in the United States.
He has denied that he provided professional athletes with performance-enhancing drugs but said that he had used human growth hormone for the last 10 years and prescribed it for some patients. Among the more notable athletes he has treated are the golfer Tiger Woods and the swimmer Dara Torres.
So, digging deeper, just who is this infamous Dr. Galea?
For starters, if he’s really Canadian, then he explodes the myth that all Canadians are paragons of virtue.
Second, the Feds spoke to Jose Reyes about the guy and all Reyes said was, “He didn’t give me performance enhancing drugs. He just spun my blood.”
Which brings up another question: If blood spinning really works, then why did both Reyes and Xavier Nady, who had the procedure last year, end up having surgery anyway?
I don’t know whether Galea treated A-Rod and, if so, whether it was in connection with his hip surgery. I only know that I’d be hiding under my bed if the Feds said they wanted to talk to me. Of course, my impression of “Feds” is based on what I’ve seen of them on TV – an admittedly distorted view. But I bet they wouldn’t laugh at my jokes or engage in a debate over whether Hughes or Joba should be in the Yankees rotation. I picture them as very tall men with deep voices and bad skin – men who wear white socks and have guns in their ankle holsters. I think they would call me Ma’am and then grill me for hours without letting me eat or drink – not even a sip of water. I imagine that by the end of their “interview,” I’d be in tears, even if I did nothing wrong. But hey, that’s just me.
I really hope this A-Rod business goes nowhere and my blog post from the other day didn’t jinx anything.