Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Updated: February 19, 1:44 PM ET
A-Rod's cousin lives in Miami
By Amy K. Nelson
As far back as anyone can remember, Yuri Sucart was always by Alex Rodriguez's side.
Sucart would tell anyone who would listen he was Rodriguez's cousin. But he was also Rodriguez's best friend, confidant and personal protector.
On Tuesday, when Rodriguez said in a nationally televised news conference from New York Yankees spring training in Tampa, Fla., that it was his cousin who provided and injected him with performance-enhancing drugs, it was Sucart to whom Rodriguez was referring, Sucart's wife, Carmen, confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday night.
When an ESPN Deportes producer knocked on the Sucarts' door in Miami, no one answered. The producer then called the Sucarts' house on the telephone and reached a woman who later identified herself as Yuri Sucart's wife. When the producer asked if Rodriguez had referred to her husband at Tuesday's news conference, she said yes.
Carmen Sucart said Rodriguez had given enough details about her husband at the news conference.
"I told you my husband has nothing to say," she said. "What A-Rod said at the press conference is what happened and that is all. And if you want to talk to my husband, why don't you talk to his lawyer?"
Carmen Sucart declined to provide the name of her husband's lawyer. As the producer stood in front of the house, a teenage boy asked him to leave and said his father would not be talking.
A man who answered Yuri Sucart's cell phone late Wednesday night said he wasn't there and asked a reporter to call back in 30 minutes. The follow-up call went to voice mail.
The people who know Yuri Sucart -- his first name often pronounced Judy -- say he's a loyalist and has always protected Rodriguez.
"Yuri was a mule, not a guy who would initiate anything," a friend once close to Rodriguez said Wednesday. "He did what Alex told him to. He was only looking out for Alex. He is not a guy who would take the initiative to go out and buy drugs. Alex said during the press conference that his cousin just did what was asked -- that is perfect for Yuri's M.O. He is a person who would be with him forever, a loyal guy without a bad bone in his body."
Rodriguez seemed to address that dynamic in Tuesday's news conference when he said: "I'd rather not get into who my cousin is. I'm here to stand front and center and take the blame, because I am responsible for this. He basically took an instruction from me and felt he was doing something that was going to be helpful, not hurtful."
In addition to Miami, Sucart has lived in Seattle and Texas -- the first two major league sites where Rodriguez played. Sucart, 46, was often seen with Rodriguez in Seattle. That continued in Texas. In the spring of 2002, according to Charles Colaw, a personal trainer and bodybuilder who worked at a 24-hour fitness gym in Dallas, Sucart approached him for help with his balky back.
"He would talk about Alex all the time," Colaw said. "It seemed like he lived his life vicariously through [Rodriguez]. But he never talked to me about drugs or any of that stuff."
Colaw said he worked with Sucart for about six months until he stopped calling for personal training sessions. Colaw described Sucart as stocky and in need of weight loss. He said Sucart would often call boasting about being on the Rangers' team plane, telling Colaw where the team was headed and when he'd be back in town to train. Colaw also said Sucart would promise tickets to games and free equipment like tennis shoes, since Rodriguez "had an endorsement deal with Nike."
Colaw was supposed to meet Sucart at a Rangers game and visit the clubhouse afterward. Colaw said Sucart stood him up and he never met Rodriguez.
Other sources said Sucart would pay Rodriguez's bills, secure reservations by blocking off parts of restaurants for privacy and clean up after any mess left behind.
"He was very, very careful," a source close to the cousins said. "He would not incriminate Alex. If they got into a fight, he'd say Alex was an [expletive] but would never say what the argument was about."
ESPN.com's Amy K. Nelson is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. ESPN Deportes producer Edgardo Mattei and ESPN bureau producer Willie Weinbaum contributed to this report.