TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Yankees star Alex Rodriguez said Tuesday he is at ease with his ties to a Canadian sports doctor embroiled in cross-border investigations involving HGH and another drug, though he still hasn’t talked to federal authorities about the case.
Speaking a day after Dr. Anthony Galea told The Associated Press he treated Rodriguez last year and prescribed anti-inflammatories but never gave him or any other athlete HGH, the three-time MVP said he still doesn’t know when he will be interviewed by federal agents.
“I’m at ease no matter what,” Rodriguez said when asked how he felt about Galea’s comments.
Rodriguez sat in front of his locker at New York’s spring training complex Tuesday and spoke to reporters for about 3½ minutes about the situation. He seemed calm and even laughed at times.
“I got nothing new to report,” he said several times.
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 said he feels “no pressure, not at all,” even after Galea spoke about their relationship.
Rodriguez and other baseball players, including Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, have been contacted by U.S. federal investigators regarding Galea. The Denver Post reported Colorado Rockies closer Huston Street said he was on a list of players federal investigators wanted to interview. Reyes and Beltran each said they did not receive Human Growth Hormone from Galea.
The Yankees third baseman said he didn’t know where his interview would take place.
“I’m not sure. Maybe here. I don’t know. I’m not sure,” Rodriguez said. “I’m not sure where Reyes and Beltran did it. I’m not sure.”
When asked if he is choosing not to talk or has been told not to speak, Rodriguez laughed and said he “thinks the latter.”
This had been a relatively quiet spring for Rodriguez compared to last year, when he admitted during an awkward 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. An ampoule is a small sealed vial which is used to contain and preserve a sample.
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 aided with the star’s rehab. Dr. Marc Philippon performed the surgery, and chiropractor Mark Lindsay — who has a history of close 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 that 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.