A-Rod OK with MLB ban on cousin

Alex Rodriguez defended having the cousin who supplied him with

performance-enhancing drugs visit while the New York Yankees were

on road trips.

”Look, my family is going to be my family now, and well after

I’m done playing baseball,” Rodriguez said Friday. ”He’s been

with me since I was born. I love him very much, and he’ll be around

for many many years – well after I’m done playing baseball.”

Yuri Sucart was banned from the Yankees clubhouse, charter

flights, bus and other team-related activities by Major League

Baseball in 2009 after Rodriguez admitted he used steroids while

with Texas from 2000-03, saying Sucart obtained and injected the

drugs for him.

But according to published reports, Sucart was seen at the St.

Regis Hotel in San Francisco after the Yankees’ game with the

Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night. The reports said a team source

indicated Sucart has been on other trips with the 35-year-old

All-Star third baseman.

”A couple of years ago I learned a very very big lesson. And

for me, my responsibilities have never been more clear,” he added.

”I’m very crystal clear in my responsibilities – both to this team

and personally. I love my family – all my family – very much.”

MLB ruled on Thursday that the 48-year-old Sucart did not

violate the ban.

”There’s no rules that have been broken,” Rodriguez said. ”He

stays at his own place, and the team is fully aware (of where he

is). He’s not on the team bus, he’s not on the team plane, he’s not

in the clubhouse and he’s not at stadiums. So we’re complying with

all the rules. Everyone’s kosher with it. I’m just excited that

this is behind us now and everyone checked it off their list.”

Manager Joe Girardi is not too concerned.

”I know there’s history there. But I think it’s important, as

people, that we don’t turn our back on family,” Girardi said. ”I

mean, we’ve all had family members – or it could have even been us

– that have done things that haven’t necessarily been the right

thing to do. But I didn’t really think much of it.”