Baseball icon Alex Rodriguez admits to steroid use

Baseball icon Alex Rodriguez admits to steroid use Washington  - Alex Rodriguez, arguably the greatest US baseball player and an icon for the sport, admitted Monday to taking performance-enhancing drugs for three years while playing for the Texas Rangers.

The shocking confession came in an interview with US sports network ESPN. Rodriguez, or A-Rod, said he started using steroids in 2001 after signing a 252-million-dollar contract with Texas, which at the time was the most expensive in baseball history.

"I was stupid for three years. I was very, very stupid," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, 33, left the Texas Rangers in 2004 to join the New York Yankees, and he said he had been "clean" since making the move.

"I am sorry for my Texas years. I apologize to the fans of Texas," he told ESPN's Peter Gammons.

Until 2004, there were no penalties in baseball for taking performance enhancing drugs, but the admission will no doubt taint Rodriguez' already illustrious career, which includes two awards as the sport's Most Valuable Player in a season, including in 2003 while at Texas.

Rodriguez is also on track to break the all-time record for homeruns hit by a baseball player. That distinction is currently held by Barry Bonds, who himself was embroiled in a steroid scandal that has tainted his own place in the record books. (dpa)