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Statistics however point to little impact

BASEBALL watchers are now asking how great Alex Rodriguez would have been without using the performance-enhancing drugs.

The statistical analysis shows little distinction between the years he says he doped and the rest of his outstanding career with the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and now with the New York Yankees.

"It seems like very little benefit from something that we know to be so bad for your body," said Keith Law, a former member of the Toronto Blue Jays front office who is now a baseball analyst for ESPN.

Steroids experts say their use will definitely help an athlete's power and endurance over a 162-game baseball season, but that is also true for players working against him.

"People talk about only home runs as an indication of steroid use. Well, pitchers are able to come in and pitch more frequently because their recovery times have improved. People who are chasing fly balls can accelerate and get to a fly ball faster," said Gary Wadler, chairman of the Prohibited List and Methods Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Rodriguez averaged 52 home runs in three seasons at Texas compared to an average of 42 in his 13 full seasons in the major leagues.

Rodriguez also played in Texas during his prime years of age 25, 26, and 27 in Texas; age 27 is generally seen as the height of a ballplayer's career. During those three years his batting average was in line with his career mark of .306 while his stolen base numbers - an indication of speed - were down about one-third from his career average.

"Before the steroid allegations came out, I didn't feel there was anything suspicious about those numbers. He is just a phenomenal player," said Sean Forman, president of Sports Reference LLC, on online database of sports statistics.

"It's nearly impossible to discern what would be a steroid-fueled improvement and what wouldn't because there are dozens and dozens of factors that go into offensive performance," Forman said.


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