A-Rod among players cacing drug allegations
Major League Baseball is probing a newspaper report that alleges doping by New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez as recently as last season.
All-Stars Gio Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz also were among players linked to performance-enhancing drug use in Tuesday's report by the Miami New Times.
The report is based on records provided by an employee who worked at Biogenesis, a Miami anti-aging clinic that closed last month, according to the newspaper. The records include notebooks of the clinic's head, Anthony Bosch, and cite usage and payment details of players including Rodriguez, Gonzalez, Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, other professional athletes and a strength coach at the University of Miami.
"We are in the midst of an active investigation and are gathering and reviewing information," MLB said Tuesday in a statement. "We will refrain from further comment until this process is complete."
Rodriguez, 37, said in a statement that the report wasn't true. Bosch denied that Rodriguez and other MLB players were his patients, according to a statement from his attorney.
Rodriguez said in February 2009 that his cousin injected him with a performance-enhancing drug from the 2001 to 2003 seasons while he was playing for the Texas Rangers. He said he stopped using the substance in 2003 and that he hadn't taken it since. He also said he never used human growth hormone.
Rodriguez's name appeared 16 times in the records obtained by the New Times, including on a patient list from a 2009 personal notebook of Bosch. Rodriguez paid $3,500 for several banned products including HGH, according to the report, and the mentions of his name "continue all the way through last season," according to the weekly Florida newspaper.
Rodriguez, through Sitrick and Co., a public relations company, released a statement Tuesday saying that the New Times' report of a relationship between him and Bosch was untrue.
"Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. Bosch's patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him," according to the statement. "The purported documents referenced in the story – at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez – are not legitimate."
HGH is considered a performance-enhancing drug because of its ability to grow muscle and aid recovery after training.
Bosch said the newspaper article was inaccurate.
"The Miami New Times story dated Jan. 29, 2013, is filled with inaccuracies, innuendo and misstatements of fact," according to a statement by Susy Ribero-Ayala, Bosch's attorney. "Mr. Bosch vehemently denies the assertions that MLB players such as Alex Rodriguez and Gio Gonzalez were treated by or associated with him."
An email seeking comment from Jason Zillo, a spokesman for the Yankees, wasn't immediately returned. The team emailed a news release that didn't mention Rodriguez's name.
"We fully support the commissioner's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program," the Yankees said in the statement. "This matter is now in the hands of the commissioner's office. We will have no further comment until that investigation has concluded."
Rodriguez, whose 647 home runs are fifth on the major league career list, may miss the 2013 season after undergoing hip surgery this month, according to Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman. Rodriguez was re-signed to a 10-year, $275 million contract after the 2007 season, a deal that included bonus payments for milestone homers leading up to Barry Bonds's record of 762. Rodriguez is owed about $115 million on the remainder of the contract.
MLB this month announced plans to extend its HGH testing program to include in-season blood screening. Tests for the substance in the major leagues had been limited to the offseason and spring training.
Gonzalez, who won a major league best 21 games for the Washington Nationals last season, appears in Bosch's books five times, according to the New Times. His father, Max, also is listed on Bosch's client list, and Max Gonzalez said he had used Biogenesis to help lose weight and that his son had no involvement with the company, the newspaper said.
"I've never used performance-enhancing drugs of any kind and I never will, I've never met or spoken with Tony Bosch or used any substance provided by him. Anything said to the contrary is a lie," Gio Gonzalez said in a Twitter post.
According to Biogenesis's July 2012 client sheet, Bosch sold $4,000 of products to Cruz, according to the New Times. Cruz, a 32-year-old outfielder for the Texas Rangers, hit 108 home runs over the past four seasons and was a 2009 All-Star.
Cabrera was batting .346 for the San Francisco Giants when he was suspended for 50 games on Aug. 15 after testing positive for testosterone. Colon received a 50-game ban in August for the same offense while playing for the Oakland Athletics.
Cruz and Cabrera are represented by agents Sam and Seth Levinson's Aces. Gonzalez is represented by Jamie Appel, who also works for Aces. Telephone messages and an e-mail left for the Levinsons and Appel weren't immediately returned.
"The issue is currently being reviewed by Major League Baseball and it would be inappropriate for the Nationals to comment until the review is completed," Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said in an email.
The Rangers said in an e-mailed statement that they contacted MLB after being informed of the New Times' story last week and that the team had no further comment.
Adam Katz, the agent for Colon, didn't immediately return a telephone message left at his office.
San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal, who was suspended for 50 games in November after testing positive for testosterone, also was named in the Biogenesis records, according to the New Times. A telephone message left for Gregory Genske, Grandal's agent, wasn't immediately returned.
Jimmy Goins, the strength and conditioning coach for the Miami Hurricanes baseball team for the past nine seasons, is also included on multiple client lists for Biogenesis, including one dated Dec. 14, 2011, according to the New Times.
Camron Ghorbi, a spokesman for the University of Miami, didn't immediately return an e-mail seeking comment.