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02/07/09 11:00 PM EST

A-Rod news reaches Caribbean Series

Dominican Republic players discuss All-Star's Classic participation

MEXICALI, Mexico -- The news that Alex Rodriguez reportedly tested positive for steroids in 2003 has reached the Dominican Republic's squad in the Caribbean Series.

Some Tigres de Licey players declined to comment, but others praised Rodriguez's ability on the field and speculated on his participation in the upcoming World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic's team.

"The class of baseball player he is, anybody would want him on their team," said Pirates catcher Ronny Paulino, who is listed on the Dominican Republic's provisional Classic roster. "He's the best player in baseball. Having him on the [Dominican Republic] is a tremendous help. He's the best third baseman in the game."

On Saturday, Sports Illustrated reported that Rodriguez was one of 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during Major League Baseball's 2003 survey testing.

The random testing, part of a joint agreement between the Commissioner's Office and the Major League Baseball Players Association, was conducted during the 2003 season to see if it was necessary to impose mandatory testing the next season. The names of the players who tested positive were to be kept anonymous. No penalty was levied.

"He's a great player now, and he's been a great player for several years, regardless of what's happened," infielder D'Angelo Jimenez said. "It will be his decision if he wants to play in the Classic or not. That's something he'll have to decide for himself."

In 2003, Rodriguez won his first American League Most Valuable Player Award after hitting .298 with 47 home runs and 118 RBIs while with the Texas Rangers. He also won a Gold Glove at shortstop.

"I think now the people are going to question what he has done," Paulino said.

Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.