According to a team source, Rodriguez's cousin, Yuri Sucart, is again traveling with Rodriguez on some road trips, despite being banned by the Yankees from any team-related function or facility. That edict followed A-Rod's 2009 claim that Sucart provided and injected him with performance-enhancing drugs. Sucart, wearing a Yankee hooded sweatshirt, was spotted at the team's St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco Tuesday night after the middle game of the Bombers' series with Oakland. The source also said Sucart has accompanied A-Rod on road trips this year and even last season.
During his 2009 mea culpa press conference at spring training following a Sports Illustrated report saying he had tested positive during MLB's survey testing year in 2003, Rodriguez detailed how Sucart would travel to the Dominican Republic to procure steroids (he called them "boli") for both men when A-Rod played for the Rangers between 2001-03. The News reported then that Rodriguez met in Tampa for about two hours with both MLB's Department of Investigations and Labor Relations, answering questions about his relationship with Sucart as well as his affiliation with embattled Dominican trainer Angel Presinal.
Presinal was also banned from baseball facilities by MLB for past steroid links. Sucart was spotted chauffeuring A-Rod around in spring training in '09, prompting the Yankees to ban Sucart from team flights, buses and in restricted areas at stadiums and spring training sites.
"We have been in contact with the Yankees about this matter," Rob Manfred, baseball's executive VP of labor relations, told the Daily News Wednesday. "We are looking into it."
Major League Baseball instituted its own ban of personal trainers and non-team employees before the 2003 season - in part as a security measure in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and in part because clubhouses were rife with personal trainers and hangers-on. The ban does not extend to team hotels nor does it prevent people such as Sucart from purchasing a ticket to a game and watching as a spectator.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman would not comment on the matter when reached at his Stadium office Wednesday.
Sucart, who is 13 years older than the 35-year-old Rodriguez and had traveled with him through stops in Seattle and Texas, fell on hard times in the months after Rodriguez held his '09 press conference naming him as the source of his drugs. While A-Rod won his first World Series title that season and was a key component during the playoffs, banks initiated foreclosure proceedings on Sucart's Miami home and several of his rental properties.
A lawyer who represented Sucart then, John Ruiz, told The News that Sucart was "disappointed that he was blamed for everything."
"Everybody wants a scapegoat," Ruiz said.