A representative for Alex Rodriguez denied that his client tested positive for a banned stimulant in 2006, the first year of testing in Major League Baseball for those substances, which was reported Monday by The New York Times.
The report cited two sources with knowledge of the testing who spoke on condition of anonymity. Rodriguez has denied testing positive for stimulants in the past, and a spokesman reiterated that in speaking to the Times.
Under MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, a first offense for testing positive for stimulants is six additional tests, and a second positive test would be met with a 25-game suspension.
"Alex Rodriguez was never suspended for use of stimulants," Jim McCarroll, one of Rodriguez's lawyers, said in a statement. "He has passed all tests under the MLB drug program. This is the first time this has ever been brought to our attention by MLB. The fact that MLB has resorted to leaking federally protected medical information about a player speaks volumes of the weakness of their case against Alex -- and their desperation to secure a win in the arbitration, at all costs."
Rodriguez, a three-time American League Most Valuable Player Award winner, was suspended for 211 games by Major League Baseball on Aug. 5 under baseball's drug agreement and its labor contract. He finished out the season playing for the Yankees while his suspension was under appeal before an arbitrator. Hearings are scheduled to resume Nov. 18. It is unknown whether the alleged failed stimulants test has been a factor in MLB's case, the Times reported.
"We were not the source for this story," MLB said in a statement. "We honor our joint drug program and never publicly disclose player test results until it's publicly announced."
Rodriguez also is suing Commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball, seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for what it alleges has been a campaign by MLB to "destroy the reputation and career of Alex Rodriguez." A conference is scheduled for Thursday in that case in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com.