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Truth, or consequences?

February 18, 2009|Kevin Baxter and Lance Pugmire

Examining some of Alex Rodriguez's answers during Tuesday's news conference:

Question: Rodriguez identified the banned substance he took as "bole" or "boli." What is that?

Answer: According to an official with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), "bole" or "boli" may be street names for either Dianabol or Primobolan, powerful anabolic steroids that can be taken orally or injected. According to Sports Illustrated, Rodriguez tested positive in 2003 for testosterone and methenolone, which goes by the brand name Primobolan.

Q: What does the drug do?

A: Rodriguez said his cousin injected him about twice a month during six-month cycles to give him an energy boost, but Primobolan and Dianabol are frequently taken daily and are primarily used to promote muscle growth. Taken in the doses Rodriguez described, the drugs would have little effect.

Also, if Sports Illustrated's sources are correct and Rodriguez's test showed elevated levels of testosterone, at least one expert doubts the player's claim that he used only one steroid. "If an athlete was exclusively using the anabolic steroid methenolone [Primobolan, or 'boli'], then one would expect to see a reduction in [his] level of testosterone, not an elevation," Victor Conte, founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), said in an e-mail to The Times.

Q: Rodriguez said he got the drug from a cousin, who bought it over the counter in the Dominican Republic. Is that possible?

A: Steroids are not illegal in the Dominican Republic, where they are widely available. One former major leaguer who played in the Dominican this winter said Tuesday he entered a pharmacy near the main stadium in Santo Domingo and saw containers of HGH, Deca-Durabolin and Winstrol on display.

Q: Rodriguez also mentioned the nutritional supplement Ripped Fuel. What is that?

A: An energy booster and weight-loss product, Ripped Fuel is known in the bodybuilding community as an "ECA stack" because it contains ephedra, caffeine and aspirin -- a combination that serves as a stimulant, assists in workout recovery and has fat-burning effects. Ripped Fuel and similar products were widely used throughout baseball until they were banned following the 2003 death of Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler, which was linked to ephedra.

-- Kevin Baxter and Lance Pugmire

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WHAT HE SAID

(FROM ALEX RODRIGUEZ)

"I didn't think they were steroids. That's again part of being young and stupid. It was over the counter. It was pretty simple."

"I'm here to take my medicine. One thing I will say, after today I hope to focus on baseball. We have a very special team here."

"That's not for me to determine," when asked whether he considered what he did cheating.

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WHAT THEY SAID

(REACTION AROUND BASEBALL)

"We're all lumped in with them and people think most players did it during the steroid era. But all of us didn't cheat." -- Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge.

"How many guys have I faced that are throwing 95 [mph] that should be throwing 89? It makes a huge difference. Or how many guys have hit more home runs and won more MVPs or whatever it might be that have been on that stuff and you're trying to do it naturally. It just makes you mad." -- Houston first baseman Lance Berkman.

"It didn't affect me personally, but I look at some of the moral decisions. To me, it's not really gray, it's right or wrong. It's not only cheating the fans and the game and yourself but also all the players." -- San Diego Padres pitcher Chris Young.

"He admitted his mistake, now we've got to move on and move forward. We're humans. Humans make mistakes. Nobody's perfect." -- New York Mets reliever Francisco Rodriguez.

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