Alex Rodriguez denied reports that he purchased and leaked documents that implicated Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun and his New York Yankees teammate Francisco Cervelli in Major League Baseball’s most recent performance-enhancing drug scandal.
According to a “60 Minutes” report, members of Rodriguez’s inner circle obtained the documents in February and leaked them days after the release of a story in the Miami New Times that outlined Rodriguez’s own PED use.
Rodriguez, who is currently appealing a 211-game suspension levied by Major League Baseball, said he wasn’t surprised by the latest development in a saga that has cast a pall over the Yankees as they head into Fenway Park 8.5 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East.
The story first surfaced in April in the New York Daily News but faded. As it resurfaces with the Yankees preparing for a crucial series, Rodriguez questioned the timing.
“It's just obviously a very tough situation,” Rodriguez said. “Not surprising. I think they reported this like four months ago, but it didn't get much traction. And here we are at Fenway. Just weird. Weird timing.”
And Rodriguez said he doesn’t expect this to be the last time this kind of story comes out as his appeal process plays out.
“Let's make one thing clear,” Rodriguez said. “For the next seven weeks, it's going to be a very, very bumpy road. Every day, expect a story like this, if not bigger. And after arbitration, with a full platform, I can tell my full story.
“We're going to all have to be ready for a bumpy road. It's going to get worse every day. There's going to be bigger and bigger stories that come out every day.
"It's frustrating for the game because the game is going so well. This is a big series. The team is playing really well. We're excited about playing obviously one of the best teams in baseball in Boston. The drips, it's frustrating that it's coming out one drip at a time."
With the Yankees sitting six games out in the wild card race but having won five of their last seven, manager Joe Girardi dismissed suggestions that distractions from Rodriguez’s situation would affect the team.
“I really believe that this group is good at shutting out distractions and understands what it has to do,” Girardi said. “And it's always going to be something.
"I think since this Biogenesis thing has come about, there's been something every once in a while that comes out that players are asked about. But I think they're good at moving on and going out and doing their work.”
When Yankees outfielder Vernon Wells heard the news earlier in the day, he said, “I actually read it and I chuckled.”
At the same time, he said, he braced knowing more was on the way.
“Obviously this isn't a laughing matter, but I don't think this is the end of it,” he said. “When you have an investigation that's gone on for months, there’s potential to be so many layers to it. There's going to be things that are said and things that are written. Some will be true, some won't be true.”