Steroid controversy swirling around baseball's highest-paid player

Less than a week before the University of Miami plans to rename its baseball park in Alex Rodriguez's honor, the New York Yankees star slugger faces allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs earlier this decade.

Rodriguez, baseball's highest-paid player and one of the most accomplished athletes to come out of South Florida, tested positive for two anabolic steroids as a member of the Texas Rangers in 2003, Sports Illustrated reported on its website Saturday.

Rodriguez declined to respond to the allegation when approached by the magazine at a Miami gym Thursday. ''You'll have to talk to the union,'' he said. Neither Rodriguez nor the Yankees issued a comment after the report.

The magazine, quoting four sources, said Rodriguez's name appears on a list of 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during baseball's survey testing in 2003. Baseball's policy prohibited the use of steroids without a valid prescription since 1991, but players who tested positive in 2003 were not punished because baseball was trying to determine if it was necessary to impose random drug testing beginning in 2004.

Baseball then instituted a drug-testing program, with subsequent violators subject to penalty. There has been no indication that Rodriguez has tested positive for steroids -- or any other drug -- since that time.

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