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David Wright wants stiff penalties for drug cheats

Mets third baseman David Wright gets ready for

Mets third baseman David Wright gets ready for batting practice during a spring training workout at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (Feb. 18, 2013) Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Players busted for doping won't find any sympathy from David Wright.

"To me, if you're trying to cheat, if you're trying to cheat the system, I hope you get caught and I hope you get punished," Wright said at Mets camp on Wednesday. "If that's considered a strong stance, then I guess [it's] so."

Though players often tread carefully when it comes to the performance-enhancing drug issue, Wright offered his stern words just one day after a published report linked Mets prospect Cesar Puello to the Anthony Bosch doping scandal.

According to the ESPN report, Puello's name was among those listed in documents from Biogenesis, the South Florida anti-aging firm once operated by Bosch.

Major League Baseball is investigating Bosch, who is suspected of using the firm as cover for a steroids distribution operation.

Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz already have been connected to Biogenesis through various reports. Puello was among five players to be added to the growing list.

Puello, 21, spent last season at Class-A Port St. Lucie. He earned himself a spot in major- league camp, where he offered only a brief statement yesterday, referring all questions about the matter to the players' association. The union declined to comment.

"I've gotta go work," Puello said, shortly after refusing to answer questions.

Puello is the latest current or former client of the Brooklyn-based ACES sports agency to be linked to the scandal. The agency also drew increased scrutiny after last season's PED-related suspension of Cabrera, one of the firm's clients.

ACES, which has denied any wrongdoing, also represents Wright. During the winter, ACES founders Sam and Seth Levinson negotiated Wright's eight-year, $138-million contract extension with the Mets.

Just as he consistently has done in light of previous allegations about performance-enhancing drugs, Wright defended his longtime agents. He also repeated his intention to stick with the firm despite the defections of other former clients.

"I can obviously tell you that they've never tried to push me in a direction towards that," Wright said. "They've been great to me. I'm extremely happy with them. That's been my stance the entire time. That's not going to change."

Though Wright offered his public support for his agents, he insisted that players busted for bending baseball's doping rules be forced to pay a price.

"I don't care if they're ACES clients, I don't care if they're whatever clients," Wright said. "If you cheat, I hope you get caught and I hope you get punished."

Wright also voiced his support for baseball's new anti-doping measures, including a newly instituted test for human growth hormone.

"That's just my personal opinion," Wright said. "I applaud the efforts of the union, Major League Baseball, the commissioner's office, for the HGH testing. I applaud whatever they can possibly do to catch guys that knowingly break the rules."

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