Pudge Rodriguez, who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, unequivocally denies ever using steroids in his new book, “They Call Me Pudge.”
“I never took steroids,” Rodriguez writes in the first chapter titled Hall of Fame and Clearing the Air. “Let’s make that as crystal clear as possible — I never took steroids. If anyone says differently, they are lying.”
Before declaring he never took steroids, Rodriguez reminds the reader that he has never avoided answering the questions, especially when he lost 25 pounds before the 2005 season, which was right after Jose Canseco’s explosive book “Juiced” had been released. Canseco claims in the book that he personally injected steroids via hypodermic needle into his Rangers teammates Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez and Rodriguez after being traded to Texas in 1992.
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Rodriguez says he lost the weight because of an intense training program his longtime personal trainer Edgar Diaz had him on and also on a lack of appetite while going through a divorce with his first wife Maribel.
“Looking back, I was probably depressed,” Rodriguez writes. “I wasn’t eating well, not so much bad food, just not eating much, not getting the protein I needed.”
Rodriguez was signed by the Rangers at 16 out of Puerto Rico and made his major league debut in 1991. He was a 14-time All-Star and 1999 A.L. MVP. He holds a slew of the major league records for catchers, including games caught, putouts, hits, doubles, runs and at-bats.
Former Rangers great Pudge Rodriguez recently got a behind the scenes tour of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. (Video by Stefan Stevenson).