Alex Rodriguez has not yet faced news reporters regarding his ties to a Miami clinic. / The (Newark) Star-Ledger via USA TODAY Sports
They may be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but this is baseball, where suddenly no one is innocent.
New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and five of his peers will be interrogated, cross-examined and grilled when they report to spring training camp.
And this will be done simply by the baseball reporters.
Major League Baseball investigators, and perhaps Drug Enforcement Agency officials, also are eagerly and anxiously waiting for answers.
"This is an ugly story that we wish didn't exist, but it's there," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters at a charity benefit Monday night. "We'll take the time to let it process."
The names of six players appeared in documents obtained by the Miami New Times revealing they allegedly received performance-enhancing drugs from a South Florida biochemist. There were handwritten dates, notations, cash payments, doses and schedules.
MLB investigators examined copies of the documents themselves on Monday in Miami and questioned members of the New Times involved in the report.
There have been plenty of denials by representatives and attorneys and public relations firms, and even a tweet, saying that the New Times report is false.
Yet, not a single person has stood in front of a reporter, or a camera, to offer their own denial.
Washington Nationals All-Star pitcher Gio Gonzalez, Toronto Blue Jays All-Star MVP Melky Cabrera, Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz, Oakland A's pitcher Bartolo Colon, San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal, and Rodriguez, all have been eerily quiet.
Reporters have even staked out the homes of Rodriguez and Gonzalez in the past week, but yet, no answers.
The silence will end next week when they report to their spring-training camps.
They will be asked plenty of questions. Their teammates will be asked about their character. Management will be asked whether they're still wanted.
"No one wants to be in the middle of these conversations at all,'' Cashman says.
It will last a few days, but then there will be a new round of reporters, perhaps more reports out of South Florida, and it will start all over again.
The teams publicly say they hope it doesn't become a distraction, but really, who are they kidding? The Yankees refuse to even divulge where Rodriguez is working out these days while recovering from his January hip surgery, let alone answer whether he will show up in spring-training camp.
"I'm not going to say,'' Cashman said, "to try and keep away the extra - whatever you call it - paparazzi, the stakeout, wherever he is working out.
"That's the only reason I'm not going to say where he is going to be on a given day."
Cashman, who says he has not spoken with Rodriguez about the New Times report, declined to say whether he has spoken with MLB officials. Yankee manager Joe Girardi said Rodriguez was recently working out at Yankee Stadium, and asked about his health, but not about the report.
None of the players in the report have yet to speak to MLB investigators, who are awaiting more answers themselves, perhaps from DEA officials.
It's unknown whether the players have even spoken to their teammates. Yankee All-Star shortstop Derek Jeter says he won't discuss Rodriguez until he speaks first. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera says he will pray for Rodriguez and support him, while hoping the investigation doesn't become a distraction.
"I think our club is used to handling distractions," Girardi told reporters at the fundraiser. "Our club will handle it. A club like ours is going to go through adversity all the time.
"Going through a season is never easy. Why would this year be any different?"
The difference this time is that the charges are explosive, and it involves six players on six teams in three divisions in two leagues. And in the case of spring training, in camps on both sides of the country.
There could be further discipline, even suspensions, when MLB concludes its investigation.
The dark storm clouds already are looming, and this time, they may be hovering much longer than spring training.
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Read the original story: The 'ugly story' A-Rod and other stars must confront