The owner of a now-closed Florida clinic accused of supplying banned performance-enhancing drugs to Major League Baseball pros said in a television interview on Sunday that the game’s highest-paid player, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, was a long-time drug user.
Anthony Bosch, the main witness that the league relied upon to suspend Rodriguez, had previously denied any involvement in selling drugs to players, but told CBS News’ 60 Minutes on Sunday that he was an expert in doping who only stopped and agreed to speak up because he got caught.
Rodriguez, 38, who on Saturday was suspended for the season by US baseball’s chief arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, has never failed a dope test and denies any wrongdoing.
“I was very good at what I did. I had a track record. I have been doing this for many years,” Biogenesis clinic founder Bosch said.
Bosch said he provided Rodriguez with performance-enhancing drugs over several years , including steroids, human growth hormone, insulin and supplements, and personally injected him with some of the banned substances.
On Saturday, the Yankee said in a statement that he would fight the case in federal court after Horowitz banned him for 162 games. The suspension was a reduction on the initial penalty of 211 games handed down by the league, but still the longest sentence ever imposed for doping offenses in the sport.
Rodriguez and his lawyers say the critical testimony Bosch provided to the league is not reliable because he is a discredited source and only agreed to cooperate after the MLB dropped a lawsuit against him and paid all his legal fees.
MLB commissioner Bud Selig handed down the initial suspension against Rodriguez in August last year over allegations of his involvement with the clinic. Thirteen other players were also suspended, with 12 agreeing to 50-game bans.
Rodriguez was the only player to challenge the penalty, saying he was singled out for excessive punishment and called into question the way evidence was gathered.
In October last year, Rodriguez sued the league and Selig for trying to destroy his reputation.
On Sunday, Bosch painted a different picture, saying that the Yankees star had always been a willing and active participant in doping.
“Alex cared. Alex wanted to know. He would study the product. He would study the substance. He would study the dosages,” Bosch said. “He wanted to achieve all his human performance or in this case, sports performance objectives. And the most important one was the 800 home run club, which was only going to have one member: Alex Rodriguez.”
Rodriguez is to lose US$25 million in salary if the ban is upheld.