Investigators for Major League Baseball created an improvised war room in the commissioner’s Manhattan offices in recent months, mapping out potential evidence that would tie an anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Fla., to the possible use of performance-enhancing drugs by some of baseball’s more prominent players.
But because the investigators could not compel witnesses to talk, they could do nothing more than scrutinize the clinic. As a result, they found themselves spectators Tuesday as a weekly Miami newspaper reported that it had obtained medical records from the clinic that tied a half-dozen players – Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez, Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz and Yasmani Grandal – to the use of banned substances like human growth hormone.
The Miami New Times newspaper said it had received the records from a former employee of the clinic, which is now closed, and that they included handwritten notations listing various drugs that were reportedly distributed to various players. At least some of those documents were displayed online. However, the documents have not been
independently authenticated, and Rodriguez, a New York Yankees slugger and former Seattle Mariners shortstop from 1994-2000, along with Gonzalez, a standout pitcher for the Washington Nationals, both issued statements denying they had been patients at the clinic.
Anthony Bosch, the operator of the clinic known as Biogenesis of America, also issued a statement of denial.
“Mr. Bosch vehemently denies the assertions that MLB players such as Alex Rodriguez and Gio Gonzalez were treated or associated with him,” the statement issued through Bosch’s lawyer said.
Despite the denials, Major League Baseball has long been suspicious of the clinic’s actions and will continue to proceed in the belief that the assertions in the article have merit. Major League Baseball has been particularly curious about Rodriguez, who admitted in 2009 that he used performance enhancers from 2001 to 2003 when he was with the Texas Rangers but who has denied that he has done so since.
As for the Florida clinic, it has been on the radar of both Major League Baseball and the federal government since at least 2009, when investigators uncovered evidence that slugger Manny Ramirez had received a banned drug from the facility. Ramirez was ultimately suspended 50 games for that infraction.
Last summer, baseball’s investigators began to take another look at the clinic after Cabrera tested positive for elevated testosterone. In the course of that positive test, two people in baseball said, baseball’s investigators uncovered evidence that an employee for Cabrera’s agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, had hatched a cover-up to deceive a baseball arbitrator and have the suspension for the positive test thrown out.
The New York Yankees, meanwhile, issued a statement saying they fully supported baseball’s drug-testing program and that they would have no further comment until an investigation was completed by Major League Baseball.