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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 10, 2010

MLB: Rodriguez says lawyers are setting up interview with feds

AP Sports Writer

TAMPA, Fla. Alex Rodriguez's lawyers are setting up an interview with federal authorities as part of an investigation into a Canadian doctor who is the focus of a cross-border drug smuggling case involving human growth hormone.

The Yankee slugger said from the team's spring training complex Wednesday that the interview site is under discussion but he would like it to be in Tampa so his training is not disrupted. He expects to soon know the interview date.

Rodriguez has said he is aware that federal agents want to talk to him about his relationship with Dr. Anthony Galea. Galea told The Associated Press that he helped the three-time MVP recover from a hip injury last year but prescribed only anti-inflammatories, not HGH.

"I'm at ease no matter what," Rodriguez said Tuesday when asked about Galea's comments. He added that he's "got nothing new to report."

Galea was arrested in Canada last October on four charges relating to an unapproved substance used in healing therapy called Actovegin. He is known for using a technique, called platelet-rich plasma therapy, designed to speed recovery from injuries. He has used that to treat several high-profile athletes.

Rodriguez and other baseball players, including Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran of the Mets, have been contacted by U.S. federal investigators regarding Galea. Colorado Rockies closer Huston Street said he was on a list of players federal investigators wanted to interview. Reyes and Beltran said they did not receive HGH from Galea.

This had been a far quieter spring for Rodriguez than last year, when he acknowledged during a news conference that he used steroids from 2001-03.

Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said the team would talk to Rodriguez after federal agents do.

"We didn't know Alex was seeing this doctor, and we've been told he's going to cooperate with the authorities in full, and he's going to answer some questions for them," Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said after a news conference in New York. "And until that's done, there's just nothing to add."

Galea, who recently resigned as the team doctor for the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts, became the focus of authorities' attention last September when his assistant, Mary Anne Catalano, was stopped at the U.S. border in Buffalo, N.Y.

U.S. federal court documents say "20 vials and 76 ampoules of unknown misbranded drugs including Nutropin (Human Growth Hormone HGH) and foreign homeopathic drugs" were found in a car Catalano was driving.

But Galea said Catalano only could have had a tiny, half-empty bottle or one ampoule of HGH because she was bringing the drug across the border for his own use.

The 51-year-old Galea says he's taken HGH, which is banned by the major sports, for a decade because it can improve the quality of life for people over 40.

Galea was arrested Oct. 15 after a search warrant was executed at the Institute of Sports Medicine Health and Wellness Centre in Toronto. He is charged with selling Actovegin, conspiracy to import an unapproved drug, conspiracy to export a drug and smuggling goods into Canada.

Rodriguez had hip surgery a year ago and Galea said he assisted in the third baseman's rehab. Dr. Marc Philippon operated and chiropractor Mark Lindsay, who has ties to Galea, helped monitor Rodriguez's recovery.

Even if he's cleared in the investigation, Rodriguez could be in violation of his record $275 million, 10-year contract because a team has the right to approve doctors who aren't on its medical staff.

If Rodriguez was treated without club consent, any attempt to determine whether he violated the contract's guarantee language or baseball's collective bargaining agreement likely would hinge on whether treatment was elective or necessary.


AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.