Major League Baseball purchased medical records from a former employee of the South Florida anti-aging clinic Biogenesis after learning of a player who bought the medical records with the purpose of destroying the evidence, a source confirmed to Newsday Friday.
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The New York Times reported Friday that the player was Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who had a representative purchase the medical records. Rodriguez's name already had appeared on the lists of the now-closed clinic for allegedly buying and using performance-enhancing drugs.
Rodriguez, who is rehabilitating from hip surgery, has denied any involvement with Biogenesis. Terry Fahn, a spokesman for Rodriguez, "flatly denied" The New York Times report during a phone interview Friday.
ESPN reported that MLB investigators believe the Rodriguez information is accurate but that they have no physical evidence connecting Rodriguez to the payments.
The Times reported Thursday that MLB had taken the unusual step of purchasing the medical records from a former Biogenesis employee in response to finding out about the player's actions. The Miami New Times, the newspaper that first tied as many as six major-league players to the clinic, refused to turn over its documents to MLB officials, who ultimately bought the records from another party. An MLB spokesman said Friday that it would not comment because of the "ongoing investigation.''
Rodriguez has addressed the Biogenesis affair only once, on April 1, before the Yankees opened the season against the Red Sox in the Bronx. When asked about being targeted by MLB and the possibility of a suspension, A-Rod said he was not concerned about it.
"At some point,'' Rodriguez said then, "I feel that everything will be good.''
This latest allegation, however, draws A-Rod even deeper into the Biogenesis quagmire and raises even more questions. MLB already had planned to speak with the players who had appeared on the clinic's lists -- a group that includes Ryan Braun of the Brewers, Melky Cabrera of the Blue Jays, Bartolo Colon of the Athletics, Nelson Cruz of the Rangers, Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals and Yasmani Grandal of the Padres. But having the records in their possession now might serve to expedite that process.
If Rodriguez did try to escape prosecution by the league by purchasing the documents, those evasive measures could step up MLB's efforts to penalize him. Rodriguez is not expected to be ready to come off the disabled list until late July at the earliest. But he did join the team for Opening Day -- he was not introduced on the field -- and spent time around the batting cage, in uniform, before an April 3 game against the Red Sox. He was not spotted before Friday night's game at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees have deferred any non-rehab questions about Rodriguez to MLB in taking the position that the team's hands are tied until the commissioner's office rules on his case.