COMMENTARY | Everyone's got a cousin in Miami, even Alex Rodriguez. In the end, that's what might get the New York Yankees third baseman suspended from baseball.
After his name surfaced in a Miami News Times report linking him to a South Florida anti-aging clinic that allegedly doled out performance-enhancing drugs, Rodriguez lawyered up by hiring noted attorney Roy Black.
Shortly after the media pounced on the report, A-Rod's public relations firm went into action, denying any connection between Rodriguez and the clinic's owner. The statement read:
"The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true. Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. Bosch's patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in the story - at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez - are not legitimate."
The statement carefully left out any connection between the clinic owner (Bosch) and Yuri Sucart, Rodriguez's cousin in Miami.
According to the New Times, Rodriguez's name or one of his nicknames ("Alex Rod," "Alex R," or "Cacique") appeared 16 times in the documents that the newspaper reviewed. Sucart's name also appeared in the same records on the same days as Rodriguez. (See photo.)
Despite the lack of a positive drug test, if Major League Baseball finds a strong enough Sucart-Rodriguez connection to the clinic, the league can still be discipline Rodriguez as part of its collective bargaining agreement with the players' union.
According to the agreement, players may be disciplined "for just cause for conduct that is materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of Baseball including, but not limited to, engaging in conduct in violation of federal, state or local law."
In 2009, the Yankees banned Sucart from stepping foot on any Yankees property after Rodriguez admitted that a cousin (later determined to be Sucart) provided and injected him with performance-enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003, when Rodriguez was a member of the Texas Rangers. Rodriguez said that his cousin traveled to the Dominican Republic to obtain the drugs.
It appears that Sucart, who lives in Miami, may have found a supplier a lot closer to home. The clinic, Biogenesis, is located near the University of Miami.
Records from Biogenesis appear with Sucart's name and information about steroid orders as late as 2009, the year Sucart was banned by the Yankees.
Despite his banishment from Yankees property, Sucart has not escaped scrutiny.
In 2011, Sucart was spotted with Rodriguez outside the Yankees' team hotel in San Francisco for almost a week and had been a constant presence on road trips dating back to 2010.
After the incident, Major League Baseball executive vice president of player relations Rob Manfred said it addressed the issue with the Yankees, telling ESPN, "Our position is, we told the Yankees, they agreed, that [Yuri Sucart] should not be allowed in any non-public areas; clubhouses, any team charters, buses. And it's our understanding that that prohibition has been respected.
"We've talked to the Yankees and they've assured us the prohibition has been respected," he continued.
In a brief statement about the latest report, the Yankees said that the matter is "now in the hands of the Commissioner's Office" and that the team would have no further comment until that investigation has concluded.
Howard Z. Unger is a freelance journalist in Brooklyn, New York. For the past 15 years, he has written about sports, media, and popular culture. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, New York Post, and New York Times.