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A-Rod says he believes in Melky Cabrera

Alex Rodriguez looks on from the bench during

Alex Rodriguez looks on from the bench during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium. (Aug. 3, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Alex Rodriguez has an idea what Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera is going through. Rodriguez admitted in 2009 to using performance-enhancing drugs when he was with the Rangers from 2001 to 2003, but the Yankees' third baseman was never suspended.

Cabrera was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball yesterday for testing positive for testosterone. The MVP of last month's All-Star Game was second in the National League with a .346 batting average, led the majors with 159 hits and led the NL in runs scored with 84.

"I saw where he made a statement and that's always a good first step and sometimes the hardest," Rodriguez said. "But I think he has an opportunity, being a young player. With that said, it's also going to be a challenge. I hope that he takes the bull by the horns and does some great things. I am a believer and a friend. In times like this I will definitely not turn my back and I am 100 percent here to support him. One thing's for sure, the system is in order and it works."

The 28-year-old Cabrera has 11 home runs, 60 RBIs, 13 stolen bases and a .906 OPS in 113 games with the Giants in a contract year. The Giants have 44 games remaining in the regular season and Cabrera, who admitted in a statement that he took a banned substance, began serving his suspension yesterday. If the Giants make the playoffs, he wouldn't be eligible for the first five games.

Cabrera had the best season of his career last year with Kansas City, batting .305 with 18 home runs, 87 RBIs, 102 runs and 20 stolen bases and was traded to the Giants in the offseason. Cabrera came up in the Yankees' minor-league system and spent five years with them, including 2009 when he was the starting centerfielder for a championship team. After the season, he was traded to the Braves, where he batted .255 in 147 games.

"My first reaction is I am extremely sad," Rodriguez said. "I saw someone who had a great run with us, was a key part of our world championship team in '09, had a down year in Atlanta, and decided to take his career and work extremely hard, and I saw him do that."

Rodriguez said he keeps in contact with Cabrera, but it has been a while since they spoke. He said he will reach out to Cabrera.

"I am sure he's sad and confused," Rodriguez said. "I think he's a young man and has a great opportunity and challenge to turn a negative into a positive. I hope he does that."

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