Yankees' Rodriguez will talk with feds
New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez has been contacted by federal investigators regarding a Canadian doctor accused of selling an unapproved drug.
Rodriguez said yesterday at Tampa, Fla., he was "aware" of the investigation and plans on cooperating with government officials who are looking into Dr. Anthony Galea. Rodriguez said a date for an interview has not been set.
"I can't really get into that," Rodriguez said. "I have to speak to those guys first. I've just got to wait for instructions."
Galea is facing four charges in his country related to the drug known as Actovegin, which is extracted from calf's blood and used for healing. His assistant also has been charged in the U.S. for having HGH and another drug while crossing the border in September.
A-Rod said the probe won't have an effect on him because "this is about someone else." He declined comment when asked if he has even been treated by Galea.
"I'm focused on baseball," Rodriguez said.
New York general manager Brian Cashman was informed of the situation yesterday, and added that he has not been told about any other Yankees' players being involved. "Not aware of any," Cashman said.
Last year, Rodriguez started spring training by addressing his use of performance-enhancing drugs and underwent right hip surgery in March that sidelined him until May 8. The third baseman then put together a 30-homer, 100-RBI season that ended with the Yankees winning their first World Series title since 2000.
Galea is known for using a blood-spinning technique platelet-rich plasma therapy designed to speed recovery from injuries. Among the athletes he has treated are golf superstar Tiger Woods and Mets shortstop Jose Reyes.
MAPLE WON'T BE USED IN MINORS
Many maple bats will be banned in the minor leagues this season, part of Major League Baseball's push to stop shattered shards of wood from flying dangerously through the air.
New regulations will prohibit bats made from ultra-light maple. The low-density wood often is found in bats with big barrels and thin handles, creating a whip-like action when swung.
Softer red maple and silver maple not commonly used will be completely eliminated by the 30-plus companies approved to make bats.
MLB and the union have been extensively studying the issue of broken maple bats since 2008, as splintered barrels wildly helicoptered all over the field and into the stands.
More than 2,200 bats broken in the majors during the final 2 1/2 months of the 2008 season were studied and catalogued, as was every cracked bat in the big leagues last year, said Dan Halem, MLB senior vice president and general counsel for labor.
CHOO REQUIRED TO SERVE IN KOREA
As one of baseball's rising young stars, Cleveland's Shin-Soo Choo has a bright future.
Due to circumstances beyond his control, the outfielder and native of South Korea is uncertain if that future will be interrupted.
Choo put together a solid all-around season in 2009, but he faces a potential problem that has nothing to do with baseball. South Korean men are required to serve two years in the military by the time they turn 30 years old. Choo will be 28 in July and will have to deal with this issue soon.
"It's hanging over my head a little bit," he said at Goodyear, Ariz.
Choo has options. The best alternative would be to play for the South Korean baseball team in the 2010 Asian Games, which will be held in November. Choo would need to get clearance from the Indians to participate. If South Korea wins the gold medal, Choo said his military obligation would be waived.
The situation would become more complicated if Choo doesn't play on the team or if South Korea doesn't win the tournament. He's reluctant to go into details since this is a sensitive issue in his country.
Choo could refuse to return to South Korea or apply for citizenship in the United States, but he realizes that decision may not be well-received in his country.
Choo hit .300 with 20 homers, 86 RBIs and 21 stolen bases last season.
CABRERA SAYS HE'S DONE WITH DRINKING
Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera wants to clear a few things up after the ugly incident last fall, right before his team surrendered the American League Central Division title to the Twins.
First, he's done drinking alcohol. And he's not an alcoholic.
"You guys write in the paper 'alcoholic,' that's not right," the Detroit first baseman said yesterday at Lakeland, Fla. "I don't know how to explain, but it's not an alcohol problem."
Five months ago, Cabrera went 0 for 4 and stranded six runners in a 5-1 loss to Chicago. That game started about 12 hours after Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski picked him up at a police station following a fight with his wife apparently after a late night out.
The All-Star first baseman with a $152.3 million contract had what police said was a 0.26 blood-alcohol reading three times above Michigan's legal limit for driving and a bruised and cut left cheek.
Cabrera, 26, apologized to his teammates for being drunk on a weekend while the Tigers were trying to hang on to the lead in the AL Central. They later lost the division in a tiebreaker game against Minnesota.
Cabrera spent much of the winter undergoing counseling. He said he has quit drinking and doesn't miss it.