Suspended Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was granted a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) from Major League Baseball before the 2007 season so he could take a form of testosterone, according to a new book.
The book, titled Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis and the Quest to End Baseball's Steroid Era, was excerpted on SI.com, which published some of the following (head over to SI.com for all of it).
Before the 2007 season, Rodriguez asked for permission to use testosterone, which has been banned by baseball since 2003. The (independent program administrator) in '07 was Bryan W. Smith, a High Point, N.C., physician. (Baseball did not yet have the advisory medical panel.) On Feb. 16, 2007, two days before Rodriguez reported to spring training, Smith granted the exemption, allowing Rodriguez to use testosterone all season.
The exemption was revealed in a transcript of Rodriguez's fall 2013 grievance hearing. During that proceeding, MLB entered into evidence several exemptions applied for by Rodriguez during his Yankees tenure. In his testimony, MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred called testosterone "the mother of all anabolics" and said that exemptions for the substance are "very rare," partly because "some people who have been involved in this field feel that with a young male, healthy young male, the most likely cause of low testosterone requiring this type of therapy would be prior steroid abuse."
How rare? According to the report, of the 1,354 players subjected to testing that season, there were just two TUE for "androgen deficiency medications," of which Rodriguez was one (no, the other player isn't known).
From the excerpt provided, it's unclear why Rodriguez said he needed this exemption, but he did continue asking for exemptions. In 2008, A-Rod was granted an exemption to use clomiphene citrate (which is prescribed for men who suffer from testosterone deficiency), but was denied the use of human chorionic gonadotrophin (which is used for weight loss and produces testosterone).
There a lot more, but, again, it's all over on SI.com for those who wish to continue reading.
As far as the 2007 season is concerned on the timeline here, one might recall that A-Rod won his third AL MVP award that season, when he hit .314/.422/.645 (176 OPS+) with 54 homers, 156 RBI and 143 runs. He then opted out of his 10-year deal and signed another 10-year deal, this one worth $252.87 million.