Major League Baseball issued a statement Wednesday night after a soon-to-be-released book that was excerpted on SI.com said that MLB granted suspended slugger Alex Rodriguez a therapeutic exemption for testosterone during his 2007 Most Valuable Player season.
Responded MLB in a statement: "All decisions regarding whether a player shall receive a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) under the Joint Drug Program are made by the Independent Program Administrator (IPA) in consultation with outside medical experts, with no input by either the Office of the Commissioner or the Players Association. The process is confidentially administered by the IPA, and MLB and the MLBPA are not even made aware of which players applied for TUEs.
"The TUE process under the Joint Drug Program is comparable to the process under the World Anti-Doping Code. The standard for receiving a TUE for a medication listed as a performance-enhancing substance is stringent, with only a few such TUEs being issued each year by the IPA. MLB and the MLBPA annually review the TUE process to make sure it meets the most up-to-date standards for the issuance of TUEs.
"As recommended by the Mitchell Report, since 2008 MLB and the MLBPA have publicly issued the IPA's annual report, which documents how many TUEs were granted for each category of medication. We believe this high level of transparency helps to ensure the proper operation of the TUE process."
Ron Berkowitz, a spokesman for Rodriguez, also issued a statement: "We have no comment. We have turned the page from this and are looking towards 2015 and getting back on the field."
The book, "Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis and the Quest to End Baseball's Steroid Era" by Tim Elfrink and Gus Garcia-Roberts, reports that the TUE was revealed in a transcript of A-Rod's grievance hearing last year when he appealed the 211-game suspension for more recent involvement with the Biogenesis clinic that has sidelined him for the entire 2014 season.
Rodriguez is said to have been cleared to use "androgen deficiency medications" before batting .314 and leading baseball with 54 homers and 156 RBIs on his way to his third MVP Award.
The book goes on to say that during the grievance proceedings MLB entered into evidence subsequent exemptions Rodriguez had requested. He was allowed to use Clomid in 2008 but was denied permission to use human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), the authors claimed. The former helps women with fertility but is "popular with bodybuilders at the end of steroid cycles because it can also stimulate the body to make more testosterone." The latter is prescribed to men who suffer from hypogonadism, a condition in which the body doesn't produce enough testosterone.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.