Alex Rodriguez may soon be talking to federal authorities, and he
hopes it will happen close to spring training.
Lawyers for the Yankee slugger are setting up an interview as
part of an investigation into a Canadian doctor who is the focus of
a cross-border drug smuggling case involving human growth hormone.
Rodriguez said the site is under discussion but he would like
it near the team’s spring complex in Tampa rather than in Buffalo,
N.Y., where the U.S. investigation is being conducted. He expects
to soon know the interview date.
“The idea is to schedule something that allows me to
cooperate and also get my work in,” Rodriguez said Wednesday.
“Obviously doing it here would be fantastic.”
Rodriguez would not indicate if he pressed his lawyers to
lock in a date, but he said they have been working on it for “maybe
a few days. I don’t know.”
Kathleen Mehltretter, acting U.S. attorney for western New
York, said it is not unusual for investigators to go to those they
want to interview but declined to comment on the investigation.
Maureen Dempsey, an FBI spokeswoman in Buffalo, would not comment
on Rodriguez’s statements, citing the investigation.
Rodriguez lawyer James Sharp did not respond to several
messages left by The Associated Press.
On March 1, Rodriguez said he was aware federal agents wanted
to talk to him about his relationship with Dr. Anthony Galea. Galea
told the AP on Monday that he helped the three-time MVP recover
from a hip injury last year but prescribed only
anti-inflammatories, not HGH.
Rodriguez said he is not frustrated by the wait or questions
from the media because the investigation is “not about me.”
Other baseball players, including Jose Reyes and Carlos
Beltran of the Mets, have been contacted by federal investigators
regarding Galea. Colorado Rockies closer Huston Street said federal
investigators might want to talk to him about the case. Reyes and
Beltran said they did not receive HGH from Galea.
Rodriguez has appeared more at ease this year than last
spring, when he acknowledged using steroids from 2001-03. Dressed
in workout gear Wednesday, he said his surgically repaired hip from
a year ago was much better.
“It just feels good to be back at work and have the freedom
and flexibility to have a regular camp,” he said. “There’s no
question I want to ramp things up a little bit and obviously work
diligently more than anything down here not overdo things.”
At some point this season, he will see his surgeon, Marc
Philippon, and have X-Rays, perhaps during the All-Star break or on
a western road trip.
During his rehabilitation, Rodriguez met Galea, who has close
ties to chiropractor Mark Lindsay. Lindsay helped Phillippon
monitor A-Rod’s recovery.
Galea, who recently resigned as team doctor for the Canadian
Football League’s Toronto Argonauts, became the focus of
authorities’ attention last September when his assistant, Mary Anne
Catalano, was stopped at the U.S. border in Buffalo.
Galea was arrested in Canada last October on four charges
relating to an unapproved substance used in healing therapy called
Actovegin. He is known for using a technique, called platelet-rich
plasma therapy, designed to speed recovery. He has used that to
treat several high-profile athletes.
U.S. federal court documents say “20 vials and 76 ampoules of
unknown misbranded drugs including Nutropin (Human Growth Hormone –
HGH) and foreign homeopathic drugs” were found in a car Catalano
But Galea said Catalano could have had only a tiny,
half-empty bottle — or one ampoule of HGH — because she
was bringing the drug across the border for his use.
The 51-year-old Galea says he’s taken HGH, which is banned by
the major sports, for a decade because it can improve the quality
of life for people over 40.
Even if he’s cleared in the investigation, Rodriguez could be
in violation of his record $275 million, 10-year contract because a
team has the right to approve doctors not on its medical staff.
If Rodriguez was treated without club consent, any attempt to
determine whether he violated his contract or baseball’s collective
bargaining agreement likely would hinge on whether treatment was
elective or necessary.
General manager Brian Cashman said the Yankees “no comment
still stands” while the federal investigation is proceeding.