A-Rod: Report on leaked names 'not true'
Alex Rodriguez on Friday strongly denied a report that he had implicated fellow players, including New York Yankees teammate Francisco Cervelli, as PED users to a website back in January.
"It's not true," Rodriguez said.
He made the comment to a throng of media in the Yankees' dugout Friday night in regard to a "60 Minutes" story that someone in his "inner circle" had leaked the names of Cervelli and Ryan Braun, who both had been redacted from the original Miami New Times story about the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic, to Yahoo! Sports. Rodriguez said he had spoken to Cervelli, currently serving a 50-game suspension for his involvement with the clinic and on the disabled list with a broken hand, to clear up the matter.
"We had a positive conversation," Rodriguez said. "He understands it's not true. We're on the same page."
Rodriguez also implied the story was just the latest in a series of leaks designed to further tarnish his image as he moves forward with his appeal of the 211-game suspension handed down by MLB commissioner Bud Selig on Aug. 5.
"We're all going to have to get ready for a bumpy road," Rodriguez said. "It's going to get bigger every day. I would expect bigger and bigger stories to come out every day. It's frustrating that it's coming out one drip at a time. You wish all of this could be done in a confidentiality manner like the collective bargaining agreement says it should, but that's not the case. We're going to have to deal with it. When I have the right platform at the right time and the time is appropriate -- which is not now -- I will tell my full story."
When asked who he believed was behind the alleged leaks, Rodriguez said, "I have no idea."
A source close to Rodriguez told ESPNNewYork.com that the slugger was considering taking action against CBS and "60 Minutes."
"They're going to get sued," the source said. "Call him whatever you want, stupid, but Alex is not a rat."
Asked by ESPNNewYork.com after his 4.5-minute news conference whether he was considering a lawsuit, Rodriguez said, "I'm done talking about this."
Follow-up questions were prohibited by a member of the Yankees' PR staff. And asked about the allegation that a member of Rodriguez's "inner circle" had leaked the information, a source who has been a confidant of Rodriguez told ESPNNewYork.com, "He has a lot of inner circles."
The question of whether Rodriguez, playing third base and hitting fifth in the lineup in the opener of a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, had implicated other players was a topic of discussion in the Yankees clubhouse and in manager Joe Girardi's pregame news conference Friday night.
"I don't really have any comment on it," Girardi said. "There's going to be a lot of stuff that we hear, probably, moving forward. I'll let MLB handle everything."
Girardi also said he did not foresee a problem in the clubhouse between Rodriguez and his teammates.
"I think the guys have had fun with Alex being back here, and I don't expect that to change," Girardi said. "I don't see anything changing."
"What I heard is that Alex has denied it," said Curtis Granderson, the Yankees' union rep. "If Alex has denied it, then I'm going with Alex."
Granderson pointed to the fact that the story alleged "associates" of Rodriguez had leaked the information on Cervelli and Braun.
"If it is not Alex, let's talk to that person, whoever that person happens to be," Granderson said. "Right now there is no name. Until that finally comes out there's not much to be said except for the fact that Alex has denied it. A teammate is a teammate and I trust my teammates."
Vernon Wells, in his first season as a Yankee, said the new allegations would not affect his relationship with Rodriguez.
"The only thing that would change would be (his relationship) with Cervelli if it's true," Wells said. "It's directly with him. That's a personal thing with him and Francisco."
But Wells also said the last story was "only the tip of the iceberg. 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, things that are written; some will be true, some won't be true."
Rodriguez, hitting .278 with one home run and four RBIs since returning to the Yankees on Aug. 5 after missing the first 110 games of the season following hip surgery, acknowledged that the almost daily stream of damaging stories was taking its toll.
"It's frustrating because I'm a human being," he said. "I belong to a union and I've been a member for 20 years; I love Michael Weiner and all the things he's been able to do. Donald Fehr, Marvin Miller. I support all my teammates; whether you play in Boston, with the Diamondbacks or the Mets, I love all the members of the union equally and unconditionally. I feel like I have great support."
But in recent days, Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, and John Lackey of the Red Sox, who is starting Game 2 of this series on Saturday, have said publicly that Rodriguez should not be allowed to play while appealing his suspension.
"I don't take anything personal," Rodriguez said. "At the end of the day, my goal is to help this team get to the playoffs. Once you get there, anything can happen. I like the way our team has played the last six or seven days; we're showing good life, good at-bats. That's the key for us -- keep that momentum and good energy going, no matter what happens. As a union, we will finish strong."
Toward the end of the news conference, Rodriguez was asked how it felt to be "a punching bag."
His reply: "It gets old."
Information from ESPN's T.J. Quinn was used in this report.
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