Embattled New York Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez admitted during an interview this afternoon with ESPN’s Peter Gammons that he used performance-enhancing substances from 2001-03 while playing for the Texas Rangers.
“I was young, I was stupid, I was naive, and I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth . . . being one of the greatest players of all time,” Rodriguez told Gammons in an interview recorded this afternoon in Miami Beach. “I did take a banned substance and for that I am very sorry and deeply regretful…I know I have millions of fans out there that will never look at me the same.”
Rodriguez hit 159 home runs during those three seasons with the Rangers — including 57 in 2002 — and he was named the American League Most Valuable Player in ’03. He was traded to the Yankees following that season. In 2003, there were no penalties for a positive result.
“It was such a loosey-goosey era,” the 33-year-old Rodriguez said. “I’m guilty for a lot of things. I’m guilty for being negligent, naive, not asking all the right questions. To be quite honest, I don’t know exactly what substance I was guilty of using.”
Rodriguez emphasized that the only time he took performance enhancers was during that three-year span with the Rangers.
“I did take a banned substance and, you know . . . I’m just sorry. I’m sorry for that time. I’m sorry to fans. I’m sorry for my fans in Texas. It wasn’t until  that I ever thought about substance of any kind, and since then I’ve proved to myself and to everyone that I don’t need any of that.”
In the interview, Rodriguez cited a particular incident as the reason he stopped using performance-enhancing drugs. He said he suffered a “serious neck injury” during team conditioning in 2003 and missed about 2 1/2 weeks of spring training. He said the injury served as a wake-up call.
“It was at that point, lying in my bed, that I said, ‘What am I doing?’ Not only am I going to hurt my baseball career, but I’m going to hurt my post-career…I remember thinking, ‘Wake up. Stop being selfish. Stop being stupid. And take control of whatever you’re ingesting.'”
While he recalled a specific moment when he said he stopped taking the substances, Rodriguez could not recall a specific reason that made him start.
“It was pretty prevelent,” he said. “There were a lot of people doing a lot of things. It wasn’t really a dramatic day [when he started using performance-enhancing drugs]…I think you just felt a tremendous need to keep up and play well.”
Rodriguez had not responded publicly since Sports Illustrated reported on its website Saturday that he is on a list of 104 players who tested positive in 2003 during baseball’s confidential survey testing, which wasn’t subject to discipline.
SI.com said he tested positive for Primobolan and testosterone.
Rodriguez directly contradicted a December 2007 interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” when he said, “No” when asked whether he’s ever used steroids, human growth hormone or any other performance-enhancing substance.
“I’ve never felt overmatched on the baseball field,” he said during that interview. “I felt that if I did my, my work as I’ve done since I was, you know, a rookie back in Seattle, I didn’t have a problem competing at any level.”
Rodriguez clarified that stance during his interview with Gammons today, saying that he didn’t know 100 percent whether or not he had ever failed a drug test until SI’s Selena Roberts told him last week. Still, he said he could have been more truthful in that CBS interview.
“As I did my interview with CBS last year, I felt I hadn’t failed a test,” said Rodriguez. “And that was my belief. Whether I wanted to convince myself of that…that’s what I believed…But at the time, I wasn’t even being truthful with myself. How am I going to be truthful with Katie [Couric] or CBS? I’m here to be truthful today.”
While Rodriguez said he didn’t know for sure whether he had ever failed a drug test before last week, he said that Gene Orza, the union’s chief operating officer, told him in August or September 2004 about the list of names that had been seized by federal investigators.
“He said there’s a government list. There’s 104 players in it. You might or might not have tested positive,” Rodriguez said.
In an interview that ran for nearly 30 minutes, Rodriguez also addressed whether or not he thought his admission would impact his admission into the Hall of Fame.
“I hope not,” he said. “I think that every case is different. You have to look at the data. If you look at a 20-year, 25-year career and you take away three years..If you look at my career, there haven’t been many peaks and valleys. I had the greatest year of my career in 2007… It would be a dream to be in the Hall of Fame, and I hope one day I get in.”
Rodriguez decided to give his initial response to the allegations to ESPN. The full interview was broadcast on the 6 p.m. edition of “SportsCenter.”
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.