A-Rod denies doping report; MLB investigates
NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez has denied a newspaper report on Tuesday that accused the Major League Baseball star of buying human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing substances from a clinic in the Miami area.
The Miami New Times, an alternative weekly, reported that it obtained records detailing purchases by Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez, Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz and Yasmani Grandal from a clinic called Biogenesis, run by Anthony Bosch. The paper also posted copies of what it said were Bosch’s handwritten records, obtained through a former Biogenesis employee.
Rodriguez admitted four years ago that he used performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-03. Cabrera, Colon and Grandal were suspended for 50 games each last year by MLB following tests for elevated testosterone.
“We are always extremely disappointed to learn of potential links between players and the use of performance-enhancing substances,” MLB said in a statement. “Only law enforcement officials have the capacity to reach those outside the game who are involved in the distribution of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. … We are in the midst of an active investigation and are gathering and reviewing information.”
A baseball official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements, said Monday that MLB did not have any documentation regarding the allegations. If MLB does obtain evidence, the players could be subject to discipline. First offenses result in a 50-game suspension and second infractions in 100-game penalties. A third violation results in a lifetime ban.
Rodriguez is sidelined for at least the first half of the season after hip surgery Jan. 16. A 50-game suspension would cost him $7.65 million of his $28 million salary.
“The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true,” Rodriguez said in a statement issued by a publicist. “He 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.”
Jay Reisinger, a lawyer who has presented Rodriguez in recent years, said the three-time AL MVP had retained Roy Black, an attorney from Rodriguez’s hometown of Miami. Black’s clients have included Rush Limbaugh and William Kennedy Smith.
Rodriguez spent years denying he used such drugs before Sports Illustrated reported in February 2009 that he tested positive for two steroids in MLB’s anonymous survey while with the Texas Rangers in 2003. Two days later, he admitted in an ESPN interview that he used performance-enhancing substances over a three-year period. He has denied using them after 2003.
If the new allegations were true, the Yankees would face high hurdles to get out of the final five years of Rodriguez’s contract, which call for him to receive $114 million. Because management and the players’ union have a joint drug agreement, an arbitrator could determine that any action taken by the team amounted to multiple punishments for the same offense.
The Yankees said “this matter is now in the hands of the commissioner’s office” and said they will not comment further until MLB’s investigation ends.
Gonzalez posted on his Twitter feed: “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.”
Colon was not issuing a statement, agent Adam Katz said through spokeswoman Lisa Cohen. Sam and Seth Levinson, the agents for Cabrera and Cruz, did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.
Cruz and Gonzalez had not previously been linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Cruz’s team, the Texas Rangers, said it notified MLB last week after being contacted by the New Times.
The New Times report said it obtained notes by Bosch listing the players’ names and the substances they received. Several unidentified employees and clients confirmed to the publication that the clinic distributed the substances, the paper said. The employees said that Bosch bragged of supplying drugs to professional athletes but they never saw the sports stars in the office.
Rodriguez appears 16 times in the documents it received, the paper said, either as “Alex Rodriguez,” ”Alex Rod” or the nickname “Cacique,” a pre-Columbian Caribbean chief. The paper said the records list that Rodriguez paid for HGH; testosterone cream; IGF-1, a substance banned by baseball that stimulates insulin production; and GHRP, which releases growth hormones.
Rodriguez’s cousin, Yuri Sucart, also is listed as having purchased HGH. Sucart was banned from the Yankees clubhouse, charter flights, bus and other team-related activities by MLB in 2009 after Rodriguez said Sucart obtained and injected PEDs for him.
Also listed among the records, according to the New Times, are tennis player Wayne Odesnik, Cuban boxer Yuriorkis Gamboa and Jimmy Goins, the strength and conditioning coach of the University of Miami baseball team.
Mia Ro, a spokeswoman for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration in Miami, said she could not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation in Bosch or the clinic.