At least 20 players could receive suspensions after a report on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” Tuesday said that Major League Baseball investigators will receive full cooperation from Biogenesis Lab founder Anthony Bosch, who is expected to reveal the names of, and provide documentation about, players who bought performance enhancing drugs from the clinic.
The report indicated that MLB is ready to move quickly to suspend players, possibly as soon as two weeks from now, and that some suspensions might be for 100 games.
Among the big names who could be suspended, according to the documents identified by “Outside The Lines,” include Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, both former Most Valuable Players. Also cited were Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Mariners catcher/first baseman Jesus Montero (who since has been demoted to Tacoma), Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, and Padres outfielder Everth Cabrera.
Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon, and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal have been linked to the clinic; all were suspended after positive tests for testosterone.
Red Sox sources said Tuesday night that they have not received any official notification about any of their players. A league source said that no team or player has yet been notified of any upcoming action. No Red Sox were among the players who already have been revealed in the Biogenesis case.
David Ortiz, who in 2009 was reported to be among a group of roughly 100 major league players to test positive for PEDs during 2003 survey testing, indicated his name won’t appear in this matter.
“I have no comment on that,” he said Tuesday night when asked about the story. “Whatever happens happens. MLB will do their investigation and we’ll see how it goes. You don’t want to see anybody getting suspended, but we have rules and we have to follow them.”
Cruz, who was at Fenway Park Tuesday night with the Rangers, who lost to the Red Sox, 17-5, said he has not heard anything from MLB since his name first surfaced in connection with a possible link to the now shuttered Miami clinic.
“I cannot say anything. It’s part of the process,” said Cruz, who is hitting .268 with 14 homers and 40 RBIs and is a player the Rangers could ill afford to lose.
Another big-name player who has been linked to the clinic is Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez, but sources told ESPN that Gonzalez received products from the clinic that were legal.
ESPN’s sources said the commissioner’s office might seek 100-game suspensions for Rodriguez, Braun, and others, the penalty for a second doping offense. The argument, the sources said, is that the players’ connection to Bosch constitutes one offense, and previous statements to MLB officials denying any connection, or the use of PEDs, is another.
Braun had a 50-game suspension for testing positive for an elevated level of testosterone dismissed two years ago after appealing that the evidence was tainted. Rodriguez has admitted to taking steroids in his years with the Rangers.
While most of the names have come out, Bosch is expected to divulge “code names” to MLB sometime in the next week, according to OTL.
MLB sued Bosch in March for tortious interference. The key to MLB’s case for the suspensions, according to the report, is his cooperation, in exchange for which the lawsuit will be dropped.
MLB needed Bosch’s sworn statements concerning transactions, and Bosch is now said to be willing to provide MLB with everything it needs to make its case, whether that is phone records, checks, receipts, or the like.
The New York Times, citing a person briefed on the matter, confirmed that Bosch has agreed to cooperate.
In 2009, Manny Ramirez was suspended 50 games for violating baseball’s drug policy by taking HCG, a women’s fertility drug. According to the ESPN report, that script was written by Dr. Pedro Bosch, Anthony’s father.
According to the report, Braun’s name appears on at least two documents, one that lists him as owing $20,000 to $30,000, and another that says he owed $1,500 for what sources said were PEDs. Braun has stated that the larger figure was to pay Bosch for consulting on his successful appeal, and he denied ever receiving or using PEDs. During his interview with ESPN, Bosch said he only consulted with Braun, but sources said he is expected to tell MLB he did provide the Milwaukee star with drugs.
Major League Baseball Players Association officials had negotiated with their MLB counterparts about possible limited cooperation from the players but were concerned that the players could expose themselves to further liability.
Also sure to be on MLB’s list of questions is whether the Yankees’ Robinson Cano, who could sign a lucrative free agent contract after this season, had any connection to Bosch or the clinic. The spokeswoman for Cano’s foundation, Sonia Cruz, was listed in Biogenesis documents, according to the ESPN report, and MLB officials have investigated whether she might have been a conduit for Cano.
Nick Cafardo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.