MLB interested in A-Rod’s associations
NEW YORK ” Major League Baseball investigators want to know whether Alex Rodriguez is still palling around with his cousin and a trainer from the Dominican Republic.
The goals of the intended interview with Rodriguez were disclosed Friday by a person familiar with the plans who spoke on condition of anonymity because MLB wasn’t confirming the meeting.
The New York Yankees star has said his cousin injected him from 2001-03 with a banned substance obtained in the Dominican called “boli.” The cousin was identified by ESPN.com as Yuri Sucart of Miami.
In addition, the Daily News said Angel Presinal, a Dominican trainer well known throughout baseball, traveled with A-Rod and the cousin during the 2007 season. Presinal has been banned from entering baseball clubhouses.
“I’m not getting into any of that,” Rodriguez said.
Speaking Friday at the Yankees’ spring training complex in Tampa, Fla., Rodriguez said he expected the meeting will be in the Tampa area. MLB would like to speak with him before he joins the Dominican team early next month ahead of the World Baseball Classic.
Presinal, then a trainer for former slugger Juan Gonzalez, was questioned by Canadian Border Service officers in 2001 about steroids and syringes in an unmarked duffel bag, according to the Mitchell Report. Presinal and Gonzalez both denied owning the bag.
MLB told Anaheim and Texas to deny Presinal clubhouse access in later years, according to the Mitchell Report. Presinal was a trainer on the Dominican staff at the 2006 World Baseball Classic; MLB officials said they were not aware the Dominican federation selected him until after the tournament.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Presinal never had access to the team’s clubhouse or charter flights.
“He has no affiliation with and has never worked in any capacity for the New York Yankees,” he said.
Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and center fielder Melky Cabrera are among the major league players who have trained with Presinal.
“He knows what he’s doing,” Cano said. “Any Dominican knows him. I don’t care what people say. If I have to go back and work with him, I’ll go back. He’s a guy that knows what he’s doing. I don’t care about the past.”
Red Sox slugger David Ortiz said the facility where Presinal works in the Dominican Republic is near his home.
“We all go there and work out,” Ortiz told Comcast SportsNet on Friday night. “He’s a good trainer. He’ll teach you to train, how to get your body ready to go, but besides that I had no idea about this.”
Cashman said the Yankees’ team rules would prevent Presinal from having access to the clubhouse but that the team can’t control whom players train with away from the ballpark. Manager Joe Girardi would prefer players not use personal trainers during the season.
“You always worry about the character of the people around players,” Girardi said. “There’s a lot of people that want to latch on, and players have to be guarded.”
Following his third workout of spring training, Rodriguez said he understands the furor over his drug use will not disappear quickly.
“It’s going to take a while,” he said. “Look, for the next 18 months to 24 months, you really have to just be really aware and really focused on, for me, playing baseball.”
Notes: C Jorge Posada, coming off right shoulder surgery on July 30, threw from 200 feet and remains on target to start playing in games in mid-March. … RHP Chien-Ming Wang, who hasn’t played in a game since injuring a foot on June 15, threw batting practice for the first time this year. “Now it’s normal,” Wang said of the foot. “I don’t feel anything.” … LHP Damaso Marte (sore legs) threw batting practice. He hasn’t ruled out playing for the Dominican Republic in the WBC. … C Francisco Cervelli is set to play with Italy in the WBC.
AP freelance writer Mark Didtler in Tampa, Fla., contributed to this report.