CC Sabathia expressed optimism Tuesday night that Alex Rodriguez would be back in pinstripes this season, even as Major League Baseball's investigation into an anti-aging clinic linked to performance-enhancing drugs reportedly widened to include Ryan Braun and A-Rod's teammate, catcher Francisco Cervelli.
Sabathia said he had not spoken with Rodriguez since his name appeared in documents allegedly linked to PED use in a story by the Miami New Times. On Monday, Brian Cashman said he had yet to talk with A-Rod, and Derek Jeter -- after a workout in Tampa, Fla. -- insisted that he wanted to hear from Rodriguez first before commenting.
Sabathia also preferred to take "Jeet's stance," and despite the allegations against Rodriguez, still believes he will play for the Yankees this season. When asked if he'd be surprised to not see him back, Sabathia nodded.
"Yeah, I would be surprised," said Sabathia, who was honored last night at the annual Thurman Munson dinner. "I know how hard he works and how much he cares about wanting to play and wanting to help the team, so I look for him to do everything he can to get back on the field and try to help us."
MLB did not disclose any further details about its investigation Tuesday, other than to say it remains "ongoing," but the New Times has yet to decide if it will turn over the documents to league officials. Rodriguez, who has retained attorney Roy Black as well as a Beverly Hills-based PR firm, was characterized by a source Tuesday as "scared" and paranoid in a report by the New York Daily News. But Rodriguez has not talked publicly on the matter, and his PR firm, Sitrick and Company, declined to comment Tuesday.
Rodriguez is not the only focus of the investigation, however, and Yahoo! Sports reported Tuesday that Braun, who drew a 50-game suspension after the 2011 season for a positive testosterone test that was overturned, appeared on the clinic's records -- but unlike the others, is not directly linked to PEDs on those handwritten pages.
MLB officials already had planned to interview the first group of players who appeared on the list, and that process likely will expand to include this next round, which includes Cervelli and Orioles third baseman Danny Valencia. The New Times had not mentioned these names in the initial report because they could not be connected to PED use by the documents.
Back in 2011, Braun tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone but escaped a suspension on appeal when an arbitrator ruled in his favor regarding a chain-of-custody dispute with the sample.
Braun said in a statement released last night: "During the course of preparing for my successful appeal last year, my attorneys, who were previously familiar with Tony Bosch, used him as a consultant . . . There was a dispute over compensation for Bosch's work, which is why my lawyer and I are listed under 'moneys owed' and not on any other list.
"I have nothing to hide and have never had any other relationship with Bosch."
Cervelli issued a response on his Twitter feed: "Following my foot injury in March 2011, I consulted with a number of experts, including BioGenesis Clinic, for legal ways to aid my rehab and recovery. I purchased supplements that I am certain were not prohibited by Major League Baseball."
Valencia said in a statement he was "shocked and troubled" by the report, and has never spoken to anyone from Biogenesis.