Presinal had strong ties to A-Rod

Updated: February 21, 2009, 9:24 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

A personal trainer cited in the Mitchell report on steroids acknowledged Thursday that he worked with Alex Rodriguez during the three-year period Rodriguez says he used performance-enhancing drugs.

In an interview with ESPNDeportes.com in the Dominican Republic, Angel Presinal described himself as a "doctor of MLB teams" who also has worked with athletes in track and field, boxing, basketball and a variety of other sports, but said that he has never injected anyone with steroids. Presinal has been banned from major league clubhouses since 2001.

"I did work with Alex during that period of time [2001 through 2003]," Presinal told ESPNDeportes.com's Yoel Adames, "just like I helped all of my fellow Dominicans. He used to look for me. But I wasn't working with him on an exclusive basis. I was rotating between players and teams.

"I have never advised a player [to take steroids]; I have never talked about steroids with any athlete, with any baseball player," Presinal said. "I just wish there was someone out there with the courage to accuse me directly. That will never happen because folks respect me."

Presinal's interview came before the New York Daily News on Friday reported that Rodriguez, the New York Yankees' MVP third baseman, and Presinal have had a longstanding relationship and that Presinal accompanied Rodriguez for the entire 2007 season. According to the Daily News' sources, Presinal stayed in the same hotels as A-Rod but in a separate room with the "cousin" A-Rod said was his source for steroids during his years as a Texas Ranger.

A source told the newspaper that Rodriguez avoided being seen in public with Presinal and that the two were not together during the 2008 season.

"I'm not getting into any of that," Rodriguez told The Associated Press when asked about the report.

In 2007, Presinal worked with a cadre of elite big leaguers from the Dominican Republic -- including Pedro Martinez, Ervin Santana, Robinson Cano, Luis Castillo and Francisco Cordero.

Red Sox slugger David Ortiz acknowledge working out at Presinal's gym in the Dominican Republic but denied having any knowledge about Presinal's connection with steroids.

"This place where he works out is a facility that's like five minutes away from my house," Ortiz said, according to the Boston Herald. "It's like an Olympic place where everyone goes and hits, runs, gets all their work in. It's like in the middle of everyone's houses, so we all go down there and work out. He's a good trainer. He's the guy that teaches you how to train, how to get your body ready to go. Besides that, I have no idea about any of this."

During his news conference Tuesday, Rodriguez said a cousin injected him with "boli" from 2001 to '03, explaining that they bought the drug over the counter from a pharmacy in the Dominican Republic. Sports Illustrated first reported two weeks ago that A-Rod yielded a positive test for Primobolan and testosterone from baseball's anonymous 2003 testing survey.

Major League Baseball investigators want to talk with Rodriguez about his cousin and Presinal. Speaking Friday at Yankees spring training in Tampa, Fla., Rodriguez said he expected the meeting will be in the Tampa area. MLB would like to speak with him before he joins the Dominican team early next month ahead of the World Baseball Classic.

On Thursday, the official in charge of the agency which regulates pharmaceutical drugs in the Dominican told ESPNDeportes.com that Primobolan was not available for legal purchase, over the counter or with a prescription in the country between 2001 and 2003.

Asked about the report about "boli" not being available legally, Rodriguez said, "I have absolutely no comment on that."

When asked what reaction he had to the reports about his relationship with Presinal, Rodriguez said, "No reaction." Asked if knew Presinal, he said "No reaction." Asked how he was handling the situation, he said, "I'll tell you in May."

Rodriguez wouldn't identify the cousin, reported by ESPN.com's Amy K. Nelson to be Yuri Sucart of Miami. Sucart's wife had called a news conference for Friday morning, but did not hold it and called the police to have the media removed from her property.

Presinal turned up in the Mitchell report after a now-infamous incident at Toronto's international airport in 2001 involving Juan Gonzalez. Law enforcement conducting a luggage search discovered steroids, syringes and clenbuterol in an unmarked duffel bag that Presinal said belonged to the two-time AL MVP, then with the Cleveland Indians.

According to the Mitchell report, on prior trips Gonzalez had included bags for members of his entourage with his own bags. During an interview with police, another member of Gonzalez's entourage who claimed the bag at customs said the bag belonged to Angel "Nao" Presinal.

"I have nothing to say because at this moment I'm completely out of all activities related to the MLB," Presinal told ESPNDeportes.com prior to the publishing of the Daily News story. "I was wrongly accused while doing my job with my fellow Dominicans. The results are there and people respected me for it. I solved many injury issues with players with no particular interest; I didn't become a rich individual while doing the job I love.

"I used to have injured players back on their feet in a week. We're talking about injuries that were supposed to put them out of the game for a whole season. That's why players trusted me.

"When have I had a positive [drug test for an] Olympic athlete? Never!" he added.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Presinal never had access to the team's clubhouse or charter flights.

"He has no affiliation with and has never worked in any capacity for the New York Yankees," he said.

Cashman said the Yankees' team rules would prevent Presinal from having access to the clubhouse but that the team can't control whom players train with away from the ballpark. Manager Joe Girardi would prefer players not use personal trainers during the season.

"You always worry about the character of the people around players," Girardi said. "There's a lot of people that want to latch on, and players have to be guarded."

Meanwhile, a baseball source tells 1050 ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand that it is possible Rodriguez could be suspended by the commissioner's office, depending upon the nature of the relationship and additional information MLB investigators might learn about A-Rod's relationship with Presinal.

Rodriguez said Friday there is no date set for him to meet with Major League Baseball.

Information from ESPNdeportes.com, 1050 ESPN's Andrew Marchand and The Associated Press was used in this report.