PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Rob Manfred reiterated Thursday what he already has said several times about Alex Rodriguez since taking over as MLB commissioner.
"I think I've been pretty public about this," he said during Thursday's game between the Yankees and Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. "Alex served a very long suspension. I think once he served that time, baseball ought to welcome him back. I think we've done a good job -- the institution as a whole, teams, central baseball, everybody. And he's played well. Good for him."
Manfred said Rodriguez, suspended all of last season for PED use and his involvement with Biogenesis, will not be treated differently than anyone else found in violation of the Joint Drug Agreement. "He's tested exactly like every other player who has violated the program," Manfred said. "The program requires more frequent testing for players who are coming back after a suspension."
According to Section III of the JDA, Rodriguez, or any player found in violation, is subject to "six unannounced urine collections and three unannounced blood collections over the twelve months following the violation that resulted in the follow-up testing, and six unannounced urine collections and three unannounced blood collections in every subsequent year in the Player's career during which he is on a Club's 40-man roster."
Rodriguez was one of 13 players suspended in 2013 for involvement with Biogenesis, with all of them accepting suspension without a positive test.
Manfred is not naive about the possibility of another Biogenesis-like lab in the future, or currently, working to beat the system. "I think our testing is state of the art, I think it's as good as it can be," he said. "I think everyone in sports, WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency], USADA [U.S. Anti-Doping Agency], has given a lot of praise to our investigative capacity. But I think you have to stay really vigilant on both fronts because this is a science -- kind of a black science but a science nonetheless -- and it evolves, and we have to make sure that we're evolving with it."
Manfred addressed several other topics, including the possibility of a game in Cuba at some point in 2016, something in which the Yankees almost certainly would be interested.
"I'm optimistic that we'll be able to play in Cuba next year," Manfred said.
"There's a lot of interest among the clubs in doing that. Obviously, we have to follow the lead of the federal government in terms of what's possible in terms of playing in Cuba."