The South Florida newspaper that two months ago reported the alleged purchase of performance-enhancing drugs by several baseball players will not turn over documents requested by Major League Baseball, Miami New Times editor Chuck Strouse told Newsday Tuesday.
After being informed by Strouse of that decision, MLB said its investigation will continue. "While we appreciate the New Times consideration, we have been proceeding with our investigation as if we were not going to be getting documents from them," MLB said in a statement.
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The newspaper's investigation said banned substances were obtained by players, including Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees, from now-defunct Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic run by Anthony Bosch. Notebook entries the newspaper said were made by Bosch listed the names of players, the drugs they were sold and amounts charged for the medications.
The name of Francisco Cervelli, another Yankee, also surfaced in connection to Biogenesis, although Cervelli was not linked to any banned substances. Rodriguez and Cervelli have denied taking any illegal substances. Bosch, through his attorney, has denied any wrongdoing.
Cervelli initially wrote on his Twitter feed that in March 2011 he purchased supplements from the clinic to treat a foot injury but was certain they were not banned substances. He later backed off that, telling reporters in Tampa, "I walked away without nothing in my hands."
A spokesman for Rodriguez, who is recovering from hip surgery that is expected to keep him sidelined until the All-Star break, said Tuesday there would be no comment on the newspaper's refusal to turn over the documents. The Major League Baseball Players Association reportedly said it expects players named in the story to be interviewed by MLB officials after the World Baseball Classic.
Strouse said MLB asked for original documents of the Bosch entries.
"If they could prove these were originals that would somehow help in convincing an arbitrator," Strouse said in a phone interview. "I don't know if it makes sense or not. Ethically, we think it's a questionable idea that any for-profit group should be given records by a journalistic organization. We put online all of the relevant material . . . There is no smoking gun. I don't know why, given that information, they can't take action."
MLB officials already confirmed an ongoing investigation in South Florida, focusing on Biogenesis, since at least 2009. Manny Ramirez allegedly was linked to Bosch and his father, Pedro Bosch, a Coral Gables doctor. Ramirez received a 50-game suspension for using a female fertility drug that contained a banned substance.
The Brewers' Ryan Braun, also named in the New Times story, said his lawyers consulted with Bosch during Braun's successful appeal of a 50-game ban arising out of a positive test in 2011.
Strouse refused to characterize the reaction of MLB when told the paper would not release the documents.