MLB resolves Yuri Sucart issue

Updated: June 3, 2011, 8:00 AM ET
By Amy K. Nelson | ESPN.com

Rodriguez
Rodriguez

The matter regarding Alex Rodriguez's cousin being at the New York Yankees' team hotel has been resolved, Major League Baseball said Thursday.

"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," MLB executive vice president of player relations Rob Manfred told ESPN.com.

"We've talked to the Yankees and they've assured us the prohibition has been respected."

The New York Daily News, citing a source, said that Rodriguez's cousin, Yuri Sucart, was spotted at the Yankees team hotel in San Francisco this week and has been a constant presence on the road, dating back to last year.

Sucart was banned from having contact with the team by the Yankees in coordination with MLB. The team and the league work together to make sure that Sucart does not gain access to restricted areas.

"All we can do is control his access to areas that [MLB] or the team control. We will stay in touch with the Yankees to make sure that prohibition is being respected. A hotel lobby is a public place; there is nothing we can do."

When asked if the matter was considered closed, Manfred said: "It's never closed, obviously we have an ongoing ban in place. In terms of this instance, we're satisfied that the prohibition was respected."

Asked about the issue of the perception of Rodriguez's cousin being seen in the team's hotel, and whether that is something MLB can render a judgment on, Manfred said he couldn't answer that question.

"He's banned from areas we can control. Beyond that, it's kind of silly to have a position on things you can't control," he said.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman offered a similar take Thursday.

"He doesn't have access to any area the Yankees control," Cashman said, according to the New York Post. "In the event he is visiting with Alex in a public setting, he is his cousin and it is something we do not control. He will be his cousin forever."

In a news conference during spring training of 2009, Rodriguez confirmed a Sports Illustrated report that he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs when Major League Baseball conducted survey testing in 2003. While not mentioning his cousin's name at the time, Rodriguez explained how the cousin traveled to the Dominican Republic to obtain perfromance-enhancing drugs and injected Rodriguez with them when he was a Texas Ranger.

Rodriguez did not identify the cousin that day, but ESPN.com first reported that the person in question was Sucart.

The Yankees banned Sucart after he arrived to pick up Rodriguez following the team's spring training opener.

"Yuri was a mule, not a guy who would initiate anything," a friend once close to Rodriguez told ESPN.com in 2009. "He did what Alex told him to. He was only looking out for Alex. He is not a guy who would take the initiative to go out and buy drugs. Alex said during the press conference that his cousin just did what was asked -- that is perfect for Yuri's M.O. He is a person who would be with him forever, a loyal guy without a bad bone in his body."

In his first 50 games this season, the 35-year-old Rodriguez is batting .292 with nine home runs and 31 RBIs.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball also is investigating the surgery that pitcher Bartolo Colon had a little more than a year ago. In the surgery performed in the Dominican, stem cells and fat from Colon's body were injected in his elbow and shoulder. One of the doctors who performed the surgery admits to using human growth hormone in surgeries, but said he would never do so on a professional athlete.

Senior writer Amy K. Nelson covers Major League Baseball for ESPN.com. ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand contributed to this report.

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