NEW YORK (AP) - Alex Rodriguez tested positive for a banned stimulant in 2006, the New York Times reported Monday, an accusation denied by a representative of the legal team for the New York Yankees' third baseman.
The newspaper cited two unidentified people involved with baseball's drug-testing program.
Baseball's joint drug agreement specifies the discipline for a first positive test for a banned stimulant is six additional unannounced drug tests over the year following the violation. A second stimulant violation would result in a 25-game suspension.
Rodriguez's legal team accused MLB of leaking the allegation of a positive test, using a statement and making a filing to arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.
Lanny Davis, a former Clinton administration official working for Rodriguez's legal team, denied the player tested positive, the Times said. James McCarroll, a lawyer for the three-time AL MVP, did not address whether Rodriguez had a positive test, only he was not banned.
"Alex Rodriguez was never suspended for use of stimulants or any violation of the MLB drug program," McCarroll said in a statement. "The fact that MLB has resorted to leaking federally protected medical information about a player speaks volumes of the weakness of their case against Alex - and their desperation to secure a win in the arbitration, at all costs."
MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred declined comment.
Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games by Major League Baseball on Aug. 5 under baseball's drug agreement for his alleged "use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone, over the course of multiple years." He also was penalized under the labor contract for "a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the office of the commissioner's investigation."
The three-time AL MVP was allowed to keep playing until the arbitrator decides a grievance filed by the players' association to overturn the penalty. Horowitz has presided over eight days of hearings, which are scheduled to resume Nov. 18.
MLB and the union agreed in 2005 to ban many stimulants. The paper said it wasn't clear whether a failed stimulant test was introduced by MLB as evidence in the grievance.
Rodriguez said when he arrived at spring training in 2008 that "last year, I got tested 9 to 10 times. ... We have a very, very strict policy, and I think the game is making tremendous strides."
That would be an unusually high number of random checks but would be in line with a player subjected to additional tests resulting from an amphetamine violation. Later in the day, A-Rod said his comments were an "exaggeration to make a point."