“I know there’s a target on my back,” said Lozano, who spent Thursday with Pujols in St. Louis. “I know what I signed up for, but do I like it? No. I’m tired of the lies. My players are tired of it, too.”

Said Pujols: “I’ve heard all of the dirt about Danny from agents for the last 10 years, all trying to sign me. They’re wasting their time. Danny has been an open book. To me, he’s the best agent in the business, and I trust him with my life.”

Lozano, who represents about 50 players, has drawn recent scrutiny with several high-profile players switching to his agency, including New York Yankees All-Star third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who left high-powered agent Scott Boras.

He also represents All-Stars such as Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto, Texas Rangers infielder Michael Young and San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson, all of whom were at the Beverly Hills Sports Council.

Lozano, 44, left the Beverly Hills Sports Council a year ago. He says his ascent to one of baseball’s high-profile agents has drawn scrutiny and character assassination.

“It sounds like envy and jealousy to me,” Lozano said. “Unfortunately, success breeds resentment, and it can be threatening to my rivals.”

Lozano said he has nothing to hide while acknowledging he and his old firm made mistakes.

There were allegations of sexual harassment by two former employees against Lozano and his former partners at the Beverly Hills Sports Council that were confidentially settled in 2003, according to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Says Lozano: “They were baseless, we disputed them, everything was resolved, and everyone moved on.”

He was arrested on a DUI charge about five years ago, he said, and blames himself for having too much wine with dinner. He attributes a property tax lien against him, since settled, to being short on funds in the aftermath of his split from the Beverly Hills Sports Council.

“The divorce was sad,” Lozano said. “Even though we operated as independent agents under one roof, I no longer agreed with the philosophy. I wanted an agency with my vision, philosophy and culture.”

Lozano remains a Spanish course shy of completing his degree at the University of Southern California, a class he did not complete because, he says, “I was negotiating the biggest deal in baseball history.”

Mike Piazza, Lozano’s first star client, received a seven-year, $91 million contract from the New York Mets in 1999. Lozano no longer holds that distinction but says his “players know my character.”

“I’ve heard everything, but let me tell you,” says Rollins, with Lozano since 1998, “this guy is like a brother to me. We’ve been through a lot together. I’ll always have his back.”

That may not keep other agents from trying to lure clients with occasionally underhanded tactics.

“Unfortunately for our business, it’s typical,” San Diego-based agent Barry Axelrod said. “What guys do to take clients from other people is pretty distasteful. The tactics that are used, the mud-slinging and name-calling, it gives the profession a black mark.

“The justification is that any player has the right to change representation at any time, but from what I’ve seen, most guys aren’t dissatisfied until somebody tells them they should be dissatisfied. It’s not pretty.”

Says Lozano: “I just want to take the high road. I don’t want to sling mud. My players know my character, and that’s all that really matters to me. My focus has always been on them.”

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