Alex Rodriguez's mysterious juice-dispensing relative has been identified as a familiar face to many major leaguers: a cousin who long served as the slugger's pal, personal assistant and "mule," according to ESPN.
The cousin, Yuri Sucart, was a steady presence at A-Rod's side, traveling with the young star from Seattle to Texas and beyond, ESPN reports.
"As far back as anyone can remember, Yuri Sucart was always by Alex Rodriguez's side," the story begins.
While the report seems to confirm at least part of what Rodriguez said during a nationally televised press conference on Tuesday, Major League Baseball wants to know more. The players' association was contacted by the commissioner's office Wednesday to set up an interview involving the New York Yankees star and the sport's investigations department, union general counsel Michael Weiner said.
During his first press conference since the blockbuster Sports Illustrated article identified A-Rod as a juicer, Rodriguez said he'd "rather not get into who [his] cousin is." But the ESPN story suggests that Sucart was an easy find.
The sports site sent a Deportes reporter to Sucart's home in Miami, where his wife confirmed that it was Yuri (pronounced like Judy) whom Rodriguez was referring to during the press conference.
Though Carmen Sucart wouldn't elaborate.
"I told you my husband has nothing to say," she said. "What A-Rod said at the press conference is what happened and that is all. And if you want to talk to my husband, why don't you talk to his lawyer?"
Then she declined to provide his lawyer's name.
But another source close to the slugger, whom the story doesn't name, says that Sucart did not coax A-Rod into using the drugs.
"Yuri was a mule, not a guy who would initiate anything," a friend once close to Rodriguez told ESPN "He did what Alex told him to. He was only looking out for Alex. He is not a guy who would take the initiative to go out and buy drugs. Alex said during the press conference that his cousin just did what was asked -- that is perfect for Yuri's MO. He is a person who would be with him forever, a loyal guy without a bad bone in his body."
MLB's desire to interview Rodriguez was first reported by ESPN.com, as well. Weiner, the players union rep, said the interview will be non-disciplinary in nature but declined further comment. Because he is on a 40-man roster, Rodriguez has the right to have a union representative be present during any interview with management.
A baseball official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public comments, said MLB would like to learn the identity of the cousin and the source of the "boli" that he obtained and injected into Rodriguez. The official said MLB hopes to conduct the interview while Rodriguez is at spring training with the Yankees and before he joins the Dominican Republic team that plays its first pre-World Baseball Classic exhibition on March 3.
Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president for labor relations, did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment and Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, confirmed he had been contacted by Weiner but otherwise declined comment.