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Report: Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez linked to PEDs as late as 2012
An explosive, detailed report by the Miami New Times names Alex Rodriguez among a slew of pro sports players linked to Biogenesis, a Miami-area clinic, alleging Rodriguez used performance-enhancing drugs as recently as the 2012 season.
Rodriguez had previously admitted to using steroids, but claimed he had only used them from 2001-2003, while he was playing for the Texas Rangers.
Rodriguez spokesman Roy Black denied the allegations against his client.
"The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true," the statement read. "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."
A Rodriguez spokesman also gave a blanket denial of the star taking PEDs, telling Joel Sherman of the New York Post that Rodriguez didn't take PEDs at all during the time frame described in the story.
MLB released a statement just before 11 a.m. Tuesday saying "We are in the midst of an active investigation and are gathering and reviewing information. We will refrain from further comment until this process is complete."
The Yankees released their own statement an hour later: "We fully support the Commissioner's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. This matter is now in the hands of the Commissioner's Office. We will have no further comment until that investigation has concluded."
Two MLB players who have not been previously linked to PEDs — Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz and Washington Nationals ace Gio Gonzalez — were also named in logs reviewed by the New Times, as were Melky Cabrera, Yasmani Grandal and Bartolo Colon, all of whom were suspended for taking banned substances last season.
The New York Times reported on Saturday that baseball was looking into what kind of relationship Rodriguez and “several other major leaguers” had with Anthony Bosch, who ran Biogenesis. The Times article said that Bosch had previously come to the attention of baseball and federal authorities.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman noted that players can be suspended for using a banned substance even without the presence of a positive test. Rodriguez has never tested positive.
Rodriguez's name appears 16 times throughout the records New Times, a South Florida weekly, looked at during their three-month investigation, as either “Alex Rodriguez,” “Alex Rod” or a nickname, “Cacique” (chieftain in Spanish). The mentions of Rodriguez begin in 2009 and continue through the 2012 season, naming the exact regimen the star slugger is alleged to have taken, including banned substances such as HGH and IGF-1. In a separate story, the New Times details its reporting and provides photographs of the documents its cites.
Rodriguez's cousin, Yuri Sucart, whom he named as the person who procured him PEDs during his 2009 confession at Yankees spring training, also appears in the company records, according to the weekly.
The New Times notes that former employees also recall that the company's owner “would openly brag about selling drugs to Rodriguez.”
The names were found among several notebooks detailing clients of the doping company.
The Miami connection first came into the spotlight when ex-Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez tested positive for a banned substance in 2009. Ramirez claimed that the substance had been prescribed to him by a “personal doctor,” who was later identified as Pedro Bosch, Anthony's father.
If Rodriguez was doping as far back as 2009, that would mean he was taking a banned substance during the Yankees' World Championship run, when he hit .286 with 30 home runs after missing a month to start the season recovering from right hip surgery. The usually unproductive postseason hitter batted .365 with six home runs and 18 RBIs during the 2009 playoffs en route to his only World Series title, the Yankees' first since 2000.
Rodriguez hit .270 with 30 home runs in 2010 before slumping to a .276 average and 16 home runs during an injury shortened 2011 season.
Many of the players listed in the report saw their 2012 seasons end in disappointment or disgrace:
- After a subpar regular season during which he hit .272 with 18 home runs, Rodriguez was ineffective during the playoffs, ultimately leading to his benching. After the Yankees' season ended, it was revealed Rodriguez suffered from a torn labrum and impingement in his left hip. He had surgery to correct the issue earlier this month and is likely to miss at least half of the 2013 season. General Manager Brian Cashman said on Friday that it's possible the third baseman could miss the entire year. He has five years and $114 million left on the contract he signed after the 2007 season.
- Cabrera had an MVP-type season with the San Francisco Giants, batting a career-high .346 before being suspended for using a banned substance. Though suspended, that average would have likely won him the National League batting title, but Cabrera took himself out of the mix for the honor. He signed a two-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays this offseason.
Cabrera began his career with the Yankees but was traded to the Atlanta Braves before the 2010 season. He never batted over .280 with the Yankees and didn't post an average over .300 until the 2011 season with the Kansas City Royals. Earlier in his career, Cabrera's play was inconsistent, and questions about his conditioning led him to be non-tendered by the Braves after the 2010 season. The Royals traded him to the Giants before 2012.
- Colon, pitching for the Oakland A's, was 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA, his lowest ERA since his 2005 Cy Young Award season with the Angels. He was suspended in August for using PEDs, but was resigned by Oakland this offseason. Colon went 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA for the Yankees during his 2011 comeback. After a brilliant first half, he faded in the second half of the season and was not re-signed.
- Grandal was an instant rookie success with the San Diego Padres, batting .297 with eight home runs in 60 games before being suspended. He was traded to the Padres before the 2012 season as part of the deal that netted the Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mat Latos.
But other players enjoyed success in 2012:
- Cruz hit .260 with 24 home runs, his fourth straight season with at least 22 home runs. Cruz had never hit more than nine home runs in a season before 2009 and saw sparse playing time with the Milwaukee Brewers and Rangers
- Gonzalez challenged for the NL Cy Young Award after leading the league with 21 wins and posting a 2.89 ERA for the NL East-champion Nationals. He finished third in Cy Young voting, which the Mets' R.A. Dickey eventually won. Gonzalez's father, Max, in the New Times article, says his son is clean. Max Gonzalez said he had personally gone to see Bosch because he wanted to lose weight. His son, a lefthander, was traded to the Nationals by Oakland before the 2012 season.
Gio denied the accusations in a Washington Times article on Tuesday: "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 substances provided by him. Anything said to the contrary is a lie."
Pro tennis player Wayne Odesnik, Cuban boxer Yuriorkis Gamboa, former University of Miami star pitcher Cesar Carrillo (who was drafted 18th overall by the Padres in the 2005 amateur draft) and UM strength and conditioning coach Jimmy Goins also allegedly appear in the records reviewed by the New Times.