Yankees to talk to A-Rod after feds do

TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez may soon be talking to federal authorities, and he hopes it will happen close to spring training.

Lawyers for the New York Yankees slugger are setting up an interview as part of an investigation into a Canadian doctor who is the focus of a cross-border drug-smuggling case involving human growth hormone.

Rodriguez said the site is under discussion but he would like it near the team's spring complex in Tampa rather than in Buffalo, N.Y., where the U.S. investigation is being conducted. He expects to soon know the interview date.

"The idea is to schedule something that allows me to cooperate and also get my work in," Rodriguez said Wednesday. "Obviously doing it here would be fantastic."

Rodriguez would not indicate if he pressed his lawyers to lock in a date, but he said they have been working on it for "maybe a few days. I don't know."

Kathleen Mehltretter, acting U.S. attorney for western New York, said it is not unusual for investigators to go to those they want to interview but declined to comment on the investigation. Maureen Dempsey, an FBI spokeswoman in Buffalo, would not comment on Rodriguez's statements, citing the ongoing investigation.

Rodriguez's lawyer, James Sharp, did not respond to several messages left by The Associated Press.

On March 1, Rodriguez said he was aware federal agents wanted to talk to him about his relationship with Dr. Anthony Galea. Galea told the AP on Monday that he helped the three-time MVP recover from a hip injury last year but prescribed only anti-inflammatories, not HGH.

Rodriguez said he is not frustrated by the wait or questions from the media because the investigation is "not about me."

Other baseball players, including Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran of the Mets, have been contacted by federal investigators regarding Galea.

Colorado Rockies closer Huston Street said federal investigators might want to talk to him about the case. Reyes and Beltran said they did not receive HGH from Galea.

Rodriguez has appeared more at ease this year than last spring, when he acknowledged using steroids from 2001 to 2003. Dressed in workout gear Wednesday, he said his surgically repaired hip from a year ago was much better.

"It just feels good to be back at work and have the freedom and flexibility to have a regular camp," he said. "There's no question I want to ramp things up a little bit and obviously work diligently more than anything down here not overdo things."

At some point this season, he will see his surgeon, Marc Philippon, and have X-rays, perhaps during the All-Star break or on a road trip to the West.

During his rehabilitation, Rodriguez met Galea, who has close ties to chiropractor Mark Lindsay. Lindsay helped Philippon monitor A-Rod's recovery.

Galea, who recently resigned as team doctor for the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts, became the focus of the authorities' attention last September when his assistant, Mary Anne Catalano, was stopped at the U.S. border in Buffalo.

Galea was arrested in Canada last October on four charges relating to an unapproved substance used in healing therapy called Actovegin. He is known for using a technique, called platelet-rich plasma therapy, designed to speed recovery. He has used that to treat several high-profile athletes.

U.S. federal court documents say "20 vials and 76 ampoules of unknown misbranded drugs including Nutropin [Human Growth Hormone -- HGH] and foreign homeopathic drugs" were found in a car Catalano was driving.

But Galea said Catalano could have had only a tiny, half-empty bottle -- or one ampoule of HGH -- because she was bringing the drug across the border for his use.

The 51-year-old Galea says he's taken HGH, which is banned by the major sports, for a decade because it can improve the quality of life for people over 40.

Even if he's cleared in the investigation, Rodriguez could be in violation of his record $275 million, 10-year contract because a team has the right to approve doctors not on its medical staff.

If Rodriguez was treated without club consent, any attempt to determine whether he violated his contract or baseball's collective bargaining agreement likely would hinge on whether treatment was elective or necessary.

General manager Brian Cashman said the Yankees' "no comment still stands" while the federal investigation is proceeding.