With drug testing at an all-time high, there's no doubt Major League Baseball has taken substantial steps in the right direction in cleaning up the game. However, with multiple suspensions and the on-going release of the occosional ground-breaking reports of star players on PEDs, it's also obvious the sport has a long way to go.
While they are denying all allegations, Alex Rodriguez and Gio Gonzalez were names appearing on a list obtained by the Miami New Times from an anti-aging clinic in the city that has allegedly dished out performance enhancers to the Yankees slugger and Nationals pitcher. Melky Cabrera, who was suspended the entire second half of last season for being busted, and surprisingly, Texas slugger Nelson Cruz were also listed on the report.
Here is a majority of the article from ESPN:
The names were on records Miami New Times said were given to it by an employee who worked at Biogenesis of America before it closed last month. Miami New Times reported that the records show the firm sold performance-enhancing drugs, including human growth hormone, testosterone and anabolic steroids. Anthony Bosch, the 49-year-old head of the clinic, was connected to Manny Ramirez when the former MLB star was suspended for 50 games for violating baseball's drug policy in 2009. Bosch has never been charged by local or federal officials.
Miami New Times said it conducted a three-month investigation before releasing its 5,400-word story online on Tuesday.
Saturday, ESPN's "Outside The Lines" reported that Major League Baseball was investigating multiple wellness clinics in South Florida, as well as individuals with potential ties to players. The report said that the area from Boca Raton to Miami is "ground zero" for performance-enhancing drugs still filtering into the game.
Rodriguez, who ended 2012 injured and on the bench during the playoffs, has admitted to using steroids from 2001 to '03, but he has said he has not used PEDs since. The New Times report said that Rodriguez's name shows up 16 times in the records it reviewed. One record, which the newspaper reported was part of Bosch's private notebooks, indicated Rodriguez paid Bosch $3,500 for "1.5/1.5 HGH (sports perf.), creams test., glut., MIC, supplement, sports perf. Diet." HGH is banned by MLB.
There are other notations for Rodriguez as well, beginning in 2009 and continuing through last season. The New Times report states that other drugs listed for Rodriguez include IGF-1, a banned substance that stimulates insulin production and muscle growth, GHRP, a substance that releases growth hormones, and testosterone creams. According to the report, Bosch openly bragged of supplying drugs to Rodriguez.
Rodriguez had hip surgery last month and is expected to miss some or all of the 2013 season.
Rodriguez has hired Miami-based lawyer Roy Black to represent him in the matter. Black was part of the team that got William Kennedy Smith acquitted of rape charges in 1991 and has represented other celebrities.
The public relations firm Sitrick and Company issued a statement on behalf of Rodriguez on Tuesday.
"The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true," the statement says. "Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. Bosch's patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in the story -- at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez -- are not legitimate."
Miami New Times reported that Cabrera, who signed a $16 million free-agent contract with the Toronto Blue Jays during the offseason, is mentioned 14 times in the report. He was suspended in August 2012 for violating baseball's performance-enhancing drugs policy while a member of the San Francisco Giants. The paper cited entries in April 2012 indicating Cabrera "has enough meds until May 4" and indicating what the paper terms a "cocktail of drugs including IGF-1."
The Miami New Times reported that it sent detailed letters to all of the people to be named in its story asking for comment, but none responded. On Sunday, Bosch told New Times: "I can't really say anything to you," and added that his attorney would be in touch.
On Tuesday, Anthony Bosch told ESPN.com reporter Mike Fish in very, very brief chat: "It is bull---- ... the media ... it is all wrong."
Major League Baseball issued a lengthy statement Tuesday in response to the New Times story.
"We are always extremely disappointed to learn of potential links between players and the use of performance-enhancing substances," the statement begins. "These developments, however, provide evidence of the comprehensive nature of our anti-drug efforts. Through our Department of Investigations, we have been actively involved in the issues in South Florida. It is also important to note that three of the players allegedly involved have already been disciplined under the Joint Drug Program."
The statement added that MLB has implemented many recommendations of the Mitchell report and feels that its Department of Investigations in conjunction with local and federal law enforcement has made great strides in policing the game.
Before adding that the investigation is ongoing and the league won't comment further, the statement did say: "We remain fully committed to following all leads and seeking the appropriate outcomes for all those who use, purchase and are involved in the distribution of banned substances, which have no place in our game."
Cruz, the Texas Rangers right fielder who hit 24 home runs in 2012, has not been disciplined for PED use by the league; however, he is listed on a July 2012 record, with a notation from Bosch that "need to call him, go Thur. to Texas, take meds from April 5-May 5, will owe him troches and&and will infuse them in May." Troches, according to Bosch's notes, are a type of drug lozenge which Miami New Times said includes testosterone.
The Rangers issued a statement Tuesday, saying: "The Texas Rangers were contacted late last week by Miami New Times regarding the story posted this morning. At that time, the Rangers contacted Major League Baseball on that inquiry. The team has no further comment."
Gonzalez, the Washington Nationals left-hander who led the league with 21 wins last season and was third in Cy Young voting, appears five times, including one charge for $1,000.
His father, Max Gonzalez, also appears, but he told Miami New Times that he was there to lose weight and that his son is "as clean as apple pie."
"And if I knew he was doing these things with steroids, do you think I'd be dumb enough to go there?" Max Gonzalez said, according to Miami New Times.
Gio Gonzalez issued a statement Tuesday that appeared in the Washington Times.
"I've never used performance-enhancing drugs of any kind, and I never will," the statement says. "I've never met or spoken with Tony Bosch or used any substances provided by him. Anything said to the contrary is a lie."
According to the report, the former secretary for Biogenesis said there shouldn't be any question as to what athletes were looking for from Bosch.
"He sold HGH and steroids," the person said, according to the New Times. "Everyone who worked there knew that was what our business was."
A lot of information here. Is this a little bit of a surprise? Unfortunately, yes. Unfortunately, because it is only just a 'small surprise.' With names like Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens and Manny Ramirez all being busted and/or linked to PEDs in the past decade, nothing can come as a shock any longer.
The only question remains; can baseball ever be 'clean,' as long as the game lives on? According to one of my minor league sources, the game is still plagued by PED use and one cannot even dream of making The Show unless taking them. It's only one opinion that's been given to me. However, with that one opinion and with more stars being busted each year -- let's not forget our NL MVP last year, Ryan Braun, as well -- I'm skeptical.
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