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Suspended New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez received permission from baseball officials to use testosterone during his 2007 MVP season, a person with knowledge of the exemption told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday.
The person was not authorized to speak publicly about the exemption since he was not granted permission by Rodriguez, Major League Baseball or the Major League Baseball Players Association to discuss it.
The exemption was revealed in a transcript of Rodriguez's grievance hearing in August when he appealed his original 211-game suspension, according to a new book, Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis and the Quest to End Baseball's Steroid Era, with excerpts published by Sports Illustrated. Rodriguez was one of two players that season who were granted a therapeutic use exemption for androgen deficiency medications. He received the exemption two days before the start of spring training.
In the grievance hearing, MLB entered into evidence several exemptions that Rodriguez had requested since joining the Yankees, according to the book excerpt. MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred called testosterone the mother of all anabolics and said exemptions for the substance are very rare partly because, he said, "Some people who have been involved in this field feel that with a young male, healthy young male, the most likely cause of low testosterone requiring this type of therapy would be prior steroid abuse."
Three MLB players received exemptions in 2013 for hypogonadism, a condition in which the body does not produce sufficient testosterone.
Rodriguez, who led the major leagues with 54home runs and 156 RBI in 2007, opted out of his contract after that season and signed a record 10-year, $275 million contract with the Yankees.