A-Rod: Lawyers are setting up interview with feds

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

was driving.

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.