Baseball

Federal investigators plan to talk to A-Rod

Yankees star Alex Rodriguez has been contacted by federal investigators regarding a Canadian doctor accused of selling an unapproved drug.

Rodriguez said Monday he was “aware” of the investigation and plans on cooperating with government officials who are looking into Dr. Anthony Galea. Rodriguez said a date for an interview has not been set.

“I can’t really get into that,” Rodriguez said. “I have to speak to those guys first. I’ve just got to wait for instructions.”

Galea is facing four charges in his country related to the drug known as Actovegin, which is extracted from calf’s blood and used for healing. His assistant also has been charged in the U.S. for having HGH and another drug while crossing the border in September.

A-Rod said the probe won’t have an effect on him because “this is about someone else.” He declined comment when asked if he has been treated by Galea.

“I’m focused on baseball,” Rodriguez said.

Cabrera gives up booze

Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera wants to clear a few things up after an ugly incident last fall, right before his team surrendered the division title to the Twins.

First, he’s done drinking alcohol. And he’s not an alcoholic.

“You guys write in the paper ‘alcoholic,’ that’s not right,” the Detroit first baseman said. “I don’t know how to explain, but it’s not an alcohol problem.”

Five months ago, Cabrera went 0-for-4 and stranded six runners in a 5-1 loss to Chicago. That game started about 12 hours after Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski picked him up at a police station following a fight with his wife — apparently after a late night out.

The All-Star first baseman with a $152.3 million contract had what police said was a 0.26 blood-alcohol reading — three times Michigan’s legal limit for driving — and a bruised and cut left cheek.

Cabrera apologized to his teammates for being drunk on a weekend while the Tigers were trying to hang on to the lead in the AL Central. They later lost the division in a tiebreaker game against Minnesota.

The 26-year-old Cabrera spent much of the winter undergoing counseling. He said he has quit drinking and doesn’t miss it.

“When you want something and you know what you’re doing is bad, you say this thing is not right, this thing is not going to help me in my work,” he said.

Choo’s future in doubt

As one of baseball’s rising young stars, Shin-Soo Choo has a bright future.

Due to circumstances beyond his control, the Cleveland Indians outfielder and native of South Korea is uncertain if that future will be interrupted.

Choo put together a solid all-around season in 2009, but he faces a potential problem that has nothing to do with baseball. South Korean men are required to serve two years in the military by the time they turn 30 years old. Choo will be 28 in July and will have to deal with this issue soon.

“It’s hanging over my head a little bit,” he admitted.

Choo has options. The best alternative would be to play for the South Korean baseball team in the 2010 Asian Games, which will be held in November. Choo would need to get clearance from the Indians to participate. If South Korea wins the gold medal, Choo said his military obligation would be waived.

Bat ban

Many maple bats will be banned in the minor leagues this season, part of Major League Baseball’s push to stop shattered shards of wood from flying dangerously through the air.

New regulations will prohibit bats made from ultra-light maple. The low-density wood often is found in bats with big barrels and thin handles, creating a whip-like action when swung.

Softer red maple and silver maple — not commonly used — will be completely eliminated by the 30-plus companies approved to make bats.

The bans apply to players who are not on 40-man rosters and have no major league experience. Baseball often tests new rules on minor leaguers, be it drug tests or pace-of-game ideas, because most of them are not in the MLB players’ union and such moves do not require union approval.

Short hops

Hall of Fame left-hander Sandy Koufax will make an appearance at Dodgers spring training this week in Arizona as a guest instructor. … Outfielder Josh Hamilton has been scratched from the Texas Rangers’ first intrasquad game with a bruised left shoulder. … The Boston Red Sox have claimed right-hander Casey Fien off waivers from Detroit and designated righty Gaby Hernandez for assignment.

  Comments