A-Rod again offers 'no comment' on Canseco's steroid claims
"It's over as far as I'm concerned," Rodriguez said Wednesday after his New York Yankees lost 4-0 to the Philadelphia Phillies. "No further comment on the matter. I'm just excited to be playing baseball."
Canseco discusses the accusations in his book in an exclusive interview with ABC's "Nightline" that will be broadcast Thursday night. Details from the book first came to light Tuesday on the Web site of freelance writer Joe Lavin, who said he obtained a copy.
In "Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and The Battle to Save Baseball," scheduled for release Monday, Canseco claimed he introduced Rodriguez to a trainer/steroids dealer named Max after Rodriguez approached him "in the latter half of the 1990s" and asked where "one" might acquire steroids.
In the "Nightline" interview, Canseco refused to identify Max. "The timing's not right," he said. Canseco also said he won't produce evidence to back his claim and did not know if Max actually provided steroids to Rodriguez.
"I cannot bet my life on it ... that Alex Rodriguez ever used steroids," Canseco said, according to excerpts posted on abcnews.com, "but in my opinion, I suspect he has, yes."
When pressed by interviewer Martin Bashir to provide more information, Canseco raised his voice.
"Let's see how Alex reacts," Canseco said, according to the excerpts. "Let's see if they all call me a liar again. How's that for you? Let's see if all of a sudden they're going to call me a liar again."
According to Lavin's Web site, Canseco also claims in his book that Rodriguez pursued a relationship with Canseco's wife. "I don't know how to answer that," Rodriguez responded on Tuesday.
Speaking Wednesday in Clearwater, Fla., where they are putting the wraps on spring training, Yankees officials said they were not concerned about a potential distraction.
"Alex is one of the guys who can focus on the job at hand," manager Joe Girardi said, adding, "He's always going to command a lot of attention because of the type of player he is. And everything he does is going to be under a microscope. Is that fair? I don't know if it's fair, but it's reality."
According to a report by The Record of Bergen County, N.J., Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner defended Rodriguez.
"Consider the source, that's number one," Steinbrenner told the paper, referring to Canseco. "He wouldn't have been able to hit the ball out of the infield without steroids."
"There are certain naturals. There are guys who can just do it, and Alex is one of those guys," Steinbrenner was quoted as saying by the newspaper's Web site.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he talked briefly with Rodriguez.
"He's been through so much over so long," Cashman said. "He's fine. You don't predict the future on this stuff, but I would think that this is something that isn't an issue for him."
The "Nightline" interview also covered Roger Clemens in relation to Canseco, who's said he's never seen Clemens take steroids and that Clemens never told him he did.
In the book, Canseco writes he long suspected that Clemens had used steroids, but that he now believes Clemens did not use.
"If I were an investigator and I had to go on pure evidence that I have on Roger Clemens or dealt with Roger Clemens over time, then I would say no," Canseco said on "Nightline."
Clemens testified before a congressional committee in February that he's never used steroids, human growth hormone or any other illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
"I thought he was telling the truth," Canseco said on "Nightline." "I watched it. I thought he was, you know, honest about everything, I thought he was sincere and I feel sorry that, for him, because our system is putting the greatest pitcher of our era through this."
In the book, Canseco also accuses former White Sox teammate Magglio Ordonez of using steroids. The New York Times reported in January that Canseco offered to keep Ordonez "clear" in the book if the Tigers outfielder invested in a movie project promoted by Canseco. Those claims have been denied by Canseco in the book.
"All I've got to say about that is that he had a chance in the first book to talk about me," Ordonez said, according to the Detroit Free Press, "so why wait three more years to say what he says? There are a lot more important things to worry about. I know a lot of people don't really care. I'm not going to lose any sleep over this."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.