The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

July 25, 2013

Will Alex Rodriguez play for Yankees again?

(Continued)

With 647 home runs, fifth on the career list and 115 shy of matching Barry Bonds' career record, Rodriguez is among the most prodigious sluggers in baseball history. And his record contracts have put him in the spotlight, first a $252 million, 10-year deal with Texas that started in 2001 and later a $275 million, 10-year agreement with the Yankees that began in 2008.

But his body has been breaking down and he's been on the disabled list six times in six years. Right hip surgery in March 2009 was followed by left hip surgery this January, three months after the Yankees repeatedly pinch hit for A-Rod and benched him during the playoffs.

Just when it appeared he was ready to rejoin the Yankees this week, the team said he strained his left quadriceps.

Rodriguez has acknowledged taking PEDs before baseball started penalizing their use. In 2009, he attributed his decision to being "young and stupid" and agreed to work for the Taylor Hooton Foundation to combat steroids.

If it turns out he was violating drug rules all along, his reputation may be beyond repair.

"There's no question it's been diminished, and more than many of his contemporaries that also were involved, because in his case the perception now is that the use has been ongoing," NBC and MLB Network broadcaster Bob Costas said. "Now that could change if he somehow successfully defends himself, but if that doesn't happen, then the perception would be that it was not confined to a certain period of time, so it would be impossible to parse how much of his performance was unaided and how much was aided. The shame of all of it is that he clearly would have been an all-time great player without ever using performance-enhancing drugs."

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