That didn't take long.

The cousin whom Alex Rodriguez said introduced him to steroids and injected him from 2001-03 has been identified by ESPN as Yuri Sucart, 46, a report on said yesterday.

Sucart's wife, Carmen, confirmed to that it was Sucart to whom A-Rod referred at his news conference Tuesday. Rodriguez declined to identify Sucart by name then and yesterday said, "I'm not talking about that anymore."

Sucart, who has followed A-Rod around in each of his major-league baseball stops and lives not far from him in Miami, has been A-Rod's longtime friend and helper.

While A-Rod painted Sucart on Tuesday as a steroid-conspiracy mastermind, those who know him and his connection to A-Rod see him more as Rodriguez's Man Friday. Sucart, who goes by the nickname "Judy," is believed to be fiercely loyal to his famous friend.

A former personal trainer of Sucart's from Rodriguez's Texas Rangers days, Charles Colaw, told Newsday yesterday that he thought of Sucart as a "really helpful, friendly guy for A-Rod" and was surprised to hear him identified as someone who would be involved with steroids.

"I trained Yuri and we never talked about anything like that," said Colaw, who said he trained him for six months in 2002. "Anything associated with any kind of drugs or anything like that . . . He didn't seem to have any kind of knowledge of any of that stuff."

Colaw said Sucart referred to himself as A-Rod's business manager and made sure to highlight his relationship with Rodriguez.

"I actually didn't even believe he was associated [with A-Rod]," Colaw said. "I guess they were cousins, from what he told me. I didn't really believe him at first that he was A-Rod's manager or whatever ... People tell you stuff all the time just to be cool or something. I just said, 'OK, that's great, let's just keep working on your exercises and help you with your diet.' "

On Tuesday, Rodriguez made the stunning statement that a cousin brought him the idea of using steroids in 2001, when A-Rod was in the first year of his record $252-million contract with the Rangers. "My cousin started telling me about a substance that you can purchase over the counter in known as, in the streets, known as 'boli' or 'bole,'" Rodriguez said. "It was his understanding it would give me a dramatic energy boost and was otherwise harmless."

Public records show that Sucart has had home addresses in Seattle (Rodriguez played for the Mariners from 1994-2000) and Stockton, Calif. Rodriguez also has had an address listed under his name in Stockton. A 1999 Sporting News profile of A-Rod said he lived in a downtown apartment with Sucart.

One friend of A-Rod's called Sucart "quiet and unassuming" and said Sucart often drove A-Rod to various locales and did not often socialize with him. According to a person well-connected with the Latino scene in Miami, the two became less close after A-Rod got married in 2002 (he has since divorced).

Sucart lives on a busy Miami street in a rose-colored house enclosed by a security gate and neatly trimmed bushes and hedges. A "Warning: Security Dog" sign rests on the gate; indeed, there is a large, black dog inside.

Neighbor Olga Aguila told Newsday the Sucarts "are very nice people, keep to themselves and don't bother anybody."

On Wednesday, Carmen Sucart told "My husband has nothing to say. What A-Rod said at the press conference is what happened, and that is all."

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