Steroids and other performance enhancing drugs haven’t just given Major League Baseball a metaphorical black eye, but rather they’ve kicked the game’s ass repeatedly over the years. None of that is counteracted by the fact that MLB allegedly has one of the toughest drug testing regimens of all of the major sports. Positive tests are down significantly, but haven’t yet been eliminated in full. The stigma tied to the league is poor because of these repeated allegations and incidents. Those associated with having taken these drugs have seen a similar fate.
Just ask Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, or countless others. Life has changed since the public learned of their involvement with PEDs.
Now, with Spring Training just about two weeks away, new allegations have been revealed and a number of active players are being pulled into the mix. In a story for the Miami New Times, Tim Elfrink discusses (at length) the connections that a Miami-based anti-aging clinic known as Biogenesis has to multiple professional athletes. The information is based on countless documents, including a database of sales and treatment information and a number of hand-written journals, acquired from a three month investigation by the paper into the clinic’s activities. The investigation allegedly included interviews with multiple customers and former employees of the clinic, which had been run for years by Anthony Bosch.
Bosch was once linked to PEDs before, when Manny Ramirez was first found in violation of MLB’s PED policies in 2009. Ramirez claimed at the time that the substance he tested positive for, HCG, had been prescribed by his “personal doctor”. MLB investigated Bosch and his father at the time, but no formal charges were filed.
While Elfrink’s piece is lengthy and detailed, the crux of the issue is this: Additional players have reportedly been utilizing Bosch and his Biogenesis clinic to acquire PEDs over the past few years.
Rodriguez is named multiple times across Bosch’s journals, including specifics on scheduling and “treatment”. Cabrera is also listed, even with a seemingly hand-written letter regarding his suspension from this past summer. As are Yasmani Grandal and Cesar Carrillo, who both have ties to the University of Miami, which is located across the street from the clinic. UM’s strength and conditioning coach, Jimmy Goins, is also listed as a “client”.
Nelson Cruz and Gio Gonzalez both appear in the journals, despite the fact that neither has been connected to or accused of taking PEDs at any point in their careers up to this point. The Texas Rangers have already released a statement regarding Cruz, merely confirming that they had been contacted by the Miami New Times and that they’d notified MLB. Essentially, they gave a “no comment”. Gonzalez, meanwhile, allegedly purchased a substance (something called AminoRip) that may not actually be banned by MLB.
For Rodriguez, this news couldn’t come at a worse time. The veteran has already undergone surgery on his hip that will cost him at least half the upcoming season and possibly all of it. He’s an admitted PED user, though he swears that was only centralized for a three year window when he played for the Rangers. Yet, if Bosch’s journals hold up, it would appear that Rodriguez has continued to use various PEDs over the past few seasons. Not only will his reputation be further tarnished, but there could even be recourse permitting the Yankees to void what remains of his contract (roughly $114 Million over the next five years).
Major League Baseball has launched their own formal investigation, something that has actually been rumored to be in the works for a few weeks now, in light of the story coming out by the Miami New Times. It’s worth noting that some of these players, notably Cruz and Gonzalez, have never failed a drug test in the past so one has to be careful not to jump to any conclusions regarding their alleged involvement here. While the accusations have huge ramifications for both, ultimately it might be Rodriguez that faces the biggest hit from this new report.