Cummings asks for A-Rod's help

WASHINGTON -- A congressman has extended an invitation to baseball star Alex Rodriguez to discuss steroids -- at an anti-drug event in Maryland.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) wrote a letter to the New York Yankees slugger this week, asking him to attend the "Powered by ME!" conference in Timonium, Md., this April. Cummings is a senior member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which heard pitcher Roger Clemens last year deny he used steroids or human growth hormone. The FBI is investigating whether Clemens lied when he made those denials.

Rodriguez admitted Monday that he used banned drugs from 2001 to 2003 while playing for the Texas Rangers.

"In light of your recent acknowledgment that you used steroids in the past," Cummings wrote, "I believe you are in a unique position to send a strong message out to our young people that they should refrain from using performance-enhancing substance." The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter Thursday.

Cummings said that Baltimore Orioles infielder Brian Roberts, who admitted taking steroids once, spoke to the campaign last year. Cummings is one of three honorary co-chairs of "Powered by ME!" which teaches young people about the dangers of performance-enhancing substances.

Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, did not return telephone messages Thursday.

Cummings said earlier this week it would be a good idea for Rodriguez to meet with committee staffers. But Cummings' spokeswoman said the congressman hasn't asked Rodriguez to do so, because that's the call of the committee chairman, Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.).

A spokesman for Cummings said in a statement to ESPN that the letter requested only Rodriguez's participation in the anti-steroids campaign, and did not mention anything related to congressional hearings or testimony.

Cummings spokeswoman Jennifer Kohl said that the two congressmen discussed the matter but didn't reach any conclusion.

Committee spokeswoman Jenny Rosenberg referred to Towns' statement Tuesday, in which Towns said he didn't think lawmakers needed to hear from Rodriguez. Towns also said he'd monitor baseball's drug-testing policy.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.