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Rodriguez says cousin gave him steroids

TAMPA, Fla., Feb. 17 (UPI) -- New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez apologized Tuesday about his use of performance-enhancing drugs.


Rodriguez held a news conference Tuesday, the first day the Yankees' position players reported to spring training, to discuss revelations he tested positive for steroid use in 2003.

He said he was "curious" and called the injections "a stupid mistake."

Rodriguez said a cousin injected him from 2001 to 2003 with an over-the-counter product they bought in the Dominican Republic. He had denied using PEDs previously but Sports Illustrated earlier this month broke the story about his positive test.

"I knew we weren't taking Tic-Tacs," Rodriguez said. "I knew it could potentially be something wrong. I didn't get into the investigation (of what it was). When you're 24 or 25 (years old) and ignorant, you don't want to share everything with the public and that was something I decided not to share with anyone."


Rodriguez said his cousin didn't provide the substance to any other players and "I stopped taking it 2003 and haven't taken it since."

Rodriguez won the first of his three American League Most Valuable Player Awards in 2003. He has a career batting average of .306 with 553 home runs.

Federer withdraws from Dubai tournament

LONDON, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Roger Federer, the No. 2-ranked player in the world, has withdrawn from next week's Dubai tournament and a Davis Cup series because of a back injury.

Federer had been expected to play in the $2.2 million Dubai Tennis Championships next week and in the Davis Cup first-round match in March for Switzerland against the United States but he said a back injury last fall hasn't completely healed.

"After injuring my back last fall, I did not have enough time to strengthen it completely," Federer said in a statement on his Web site. "As a precautionary measure, I will use the next few weeks to make sure the back injury is fully rehabilitated and I am ready for the rest of the 2009 season."

Federer hasn't played competitively since losing the Australian Open final to No. 1-ranked Rafael Nadal, who has also hinted that an injury may keep him out of the Dubai tournament.


Federer won the Dubai ATP stop four times and called the event "one of my favorites on tour" in announcing he his withdrawal.

Peer speaks of Dubai 'injustice'

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Israeli Sharar Peer, denied a visa to play in the Dubai Tennis Championships, said she was confident WTA officials would take action regarding the "injustice."

Peer, ranked 48th in the world, was to have played in this week's $2 million tournament beginning Monday but was denied an entry visa by officials of the United Arab Emirates.

"While this is a very difficult moment for me personally and professionally … I firmly believe my fellow competitors should not be harmed the way I was," Peer said in a statement.

The Dubai stop is one of the richest on the WTA schedule and it draws most of the top players in the world but the action against Peer threatens its status. The ATP -- the men's tour -- is in Dubai next week and said it may reconsider the stop for next year's schedule. The Tennis Channel has canceled its coverage of the event because of Peer's treatment.

"Going forward, I am confident that the (WTA) tour will take the appropriate actions to ensure that this injustice is not allowed to occur in the future," Peer said.


WTA Chairman Larry Scott said following the visa denial the WTA is "deeply disappointed" and officials "will review appropriate future actions with regard to the future of the Dubai tournament."

Marlins give Gonzalez a contract extension

JUPITER, Fla., Feb. 17 (UPI) -- The Florida Marlins gave Manager Fredi Gonzalez a contract extension through the 2011 season, the National League team said Tuesday.

Gonzalez is starting his third season with Florida, having compiled a 155-168 record the last two years. He was selected the Sporting News Manager of the Year after the Marlins finished 2008 with an 84-77 record.

"We are extremely pleased to have Fredi continue his great work with our organization as we enter another exciting chapter in Marlins history," said Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. "Fredi's ability to work closely with our players and staff has made us a better organization and I look forward to future success with Fredi at the helm."

Gonzalez was a minor league catcher for six seasons in the New York Yankees organization and became a coach in 1990. He coached in the Marlins system from 1992-98 and moved to the parent club as third-base coach for 1999-2001.

He coached in the Atlanta Braves organization and was the Braves' third-base coach from 2003-06 before becoming the Marlins manager.


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