Ever since Alex Rodriguez acknowledged taking "boli," a curious thing has happened in this country: It's become harder to find the drug.
The New York Yankees star recently admitted he used the performance enhancer from 2001-03 while with Texas. Rodriguez said a cousin persuaded him to use try it, adding the relative got it without a prescription and without consulting doctors or trainers.
In the Dominican, "boli" commonly refers to the brand-name anabolic steroid Primobolic, also marketed as Primobolan. Rodriguez said he took the banned substance by injection.
"Primobolan is not imported by Dominican pharmaceutical agencies, but you can get it without problem in the underworld of steroids," said Milton Pinedo, head of the anti-doping program for the Dominican Olympic Committee.
Local bodybuilder Manuel Feliz said the steroid has been getting harder to find since A-Rod's remarks.
"Primobolan is used very frequently in the country's gyms, but since it was linked with the name Alex Rodriguez, it started disappearing from the market," Feliz said.
Dominican law says steroids can be sold only with a doctor's prescription. In practice, however, they are widely available at pharmacies without a prescription. Restrictions are tightly enforced on psychiatric drugs and barbiturates.
Pinedo called the relatively easy access to various steroids "a serious problem that affects considerably the health of Dominican athletes."
BREWERS: Right-hander Braden Looper was scratched from his start against the Los Angeles Angels because of a tight oblique muscle.
CUBS: Third baseman Corey Koskie agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training camp.
Koskie has been out of the majors since he sustained a concussion while playing for Milwaukee in 2006. But he says he is fully recovered and will play for Canada in the World Baseball Classic. He will report to the Cubs' camp after Canada is finished playing in the WBC.
MARINERS: Told third baseman Adrian Beltre he can't play for his native Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic because he hasn't fully recovered from surgery last fall.
METS: Pitcher Johan Santana says that his Opening Day start could be in jeopardy as he continues to battle tightness in his elbow.
Santana met with Mets general manager Omar Minaya and Manager Jerry Manuel for about 40 minutes Saturday morning to discuss a plan of action for his ailing elbow.
The left-hander said doctors have told him an irritated triceps tendon is causing the discomfort in his throwing elbow.
ROCKIES: Outfielder Brad Hawpe will miss the World Baseball Classic because of a left finger injury. Hawpe had four stitches on his pinkie finger after being spiked in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday.
ROYALS: Reached a two-year agreement with right-handed reliever Juan Cruz, who was 4-0 with a 2.61 ERA in 57 appearances last season with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He averaged 12.37 strikeouts per nine innings, tops among National League relievers.
YANKEES: Catcher Jorge Posada was scratched from the starting lineup for Saturday's game against Minnesota because of minor soreness and weakness in his surgically repaired right shoulder.