January 21, 2015
Alex Rodriguez works out with Barry Bonds in California?
Alex Rodriguez is apparently seeking a blast from the past in his quest to return to baseball after two hip surgeries, advancing age, bruising steroid investigations by Major League Baseball and the federal government, and, oh yes, a season-long suspension. The San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday that Rodriguez has been spending time getting hitting tips at a San Rafael, Calif. baseball training facility from another steroid-stained slugger, home run king Barry Bonds, whose own battles against charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs rival few players other than Rodriguez. According to the Chronicle, Bonds — who spent time tutoring Giants hitters last season — has also worked with Dexter Fowler, who was traded Monday from the Astros to the Cubs, but his star pupil is Rodriguez, who will report for spring training with his Yankee teammates in Tampa in mid-February to attempt a comeback that is sure to generate controversy all across the game. Assuming he can still play, A-Rod won’t challenge Bonds’ record — Bonds has 762 homers to A-Rods’ 654 — but he does plan to try for Willie Mays’ 660 mark, which is fourth all-time. If Rodriguez does get there, the Yankees will owe A-Rod a $6 million marketing bonus in addition to the $61 million remaining on his contract. Rodriguez, who will turn 40 in July and has been mostly quiet as he served the suspension handed down by outgoing commissioner Bud Selig in August of 2013, recently posted Instagram photos of himself swinging a bat, and according to the Chronicle, the photos were taken in San Rafael at the Future Prospects facility, where Bonds has been working with A-Rod. The facility is owned and run by Charles Scott, Bonds’ friend and Arizona State teammate who played nine seasons in the minors and scouted for nine more with the Rays, Diamondbacks and Nationals. Bonds also worked with Giants hitters during his week-long stint in Scottsdale last spring. According to the Chronicle’s sources, Rodriguez is eager to return to the Yankees and is all ears around Bonds. He is also no stranger to the Bay Area and its steroid links. The Daily News reported in 2013 that BALCO mastermind Victor Conte met with MLB investigators in the summer of 2013 and discussed how A-Rod showed up uninvited on Conte’s San Mateo doorstep in May of 2012 — along with former NFL enforcer and admitted steroid user Bill Romanow-ski — allegedly to discuss legal products that would give Rodriguez an edge. Conte, now a vocal anti-steroid advocate, said that Romanowski had even tried to convince him to fly from his San Francisco home to New York or Los Angeles to meet with Rodriguez. “I flushed it out with Romo before they ever showed up at the office,” Conte said. “I clearly told Romo it (anything he could do for Rodriguez) was about legal performance enhancement.” Conte was interviewed by MLB investigators in 2013 as they sought to determine Rodriguez’s role in the Biogenesis doping ring and whether he had attempted to procure steroids from Conte, who pleaded guilty to steroid distribution and served four months in prison in 2006. Rodriguez just came off a historic suspension, and after adamant public denials that he procured steroids from Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch, and ensuing lawsuits against MLB and the Players Association as the investigation proceeded in 2013, admitted to DEA agents last year that he had paid Bosch $12,000 a month for steroid cream, edible testosterone “gummies,” and human growth hormone injections. Bonds, of course, was convicted in April of 2011 of one felony count of obstruction of justice for giving an incomplete answer to a question in grand jury testimony. His appeal is pending. http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/yankees-alex-rodrguez-works-barry-bonds-article-1.2086305