Nationals

Quick Links

A-Rod implicated in PED use again as MLB probes

201301291124410733277-p2.jpeg

A-Rod implicated in PED use again as MLB probes

NEW YORK (AP) Alex Rodriguez was ensnared in a doping investigation once again Tuesday when an alternative weekly newspaper reported baseball's highest-paid star was among a half-dozen players listed in records of a Florida clinic the paper said sold performance-enhancing drugs.

The Miami New Times said the three-time AL MVP bought human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing substances during 2009-12 from Biogenesis of America LLC, a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Cables, Fla., near Rodriguez's offseason home.

The new public relations firm for the New York Yankees third baseman issued a statement denying the allegations.

The newspaper said it obtained records detailing purchases by Rodriguez, 2012 All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera, 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon and 2011 AL championship series MVP Nelson Cruz of Texas.

Cabrera left San Francisco after the season to sign with Toronto, while Oakland re-signed Colon.

Other baseball players the newspaper said appeared in the records include Washington pitcher Gio Gonzalez, who finished third in last year's NL Cy Young Award voting, and San Diego catcher Yasmani Grandal.

Biogenesis, which the New Times said was run by Anthony Bosch, was located in a beige, nondescript office park. The former clinic is no longer listed as a business in its directory,

``There was a flier put out by the building management a couple weeks ago. It was put on all the doors and windows of all the offices,'' said Brad Nickel, who works in a group cruise planning company on the floor above where the clinic was located. ``It just said this guy's not really a doctor, he doesn't belong here, he's no longer allowed here, call the police or the building management if you see him.''

David Sierra, who works in his aunt's real estate office in the same building, kept a picture of the flier on his iPhone. He recognized the doctor in the picture from passing him in the hallway.

Sierra said while he never recognized any of the clients at the clinic, ``there were always really nice cars in front - I'm not talking just Mercedes. Range Rovers, Bentleys.''

The New Times posted copies of what it said were Bosch's handwritten records, obtained through a former Biogenesis employee it did not identify.

Bosch's lawyer, Susy Ribero-Ayala, said in a statement the New Times report ``is filled with inaccuracies, innuendo and misstatements of fact.''

``Mr. Bosch vehemently denies the assertions that MLB players such as Alex Rodriguez and Gio Gonzalez were treated by or associated with him,'' she said.

Rodriguez appears 16 times in the documents New Times received, the paper said, either as ``Alex Rodriguez,'' ``Alex Rod'' or the nickname ``Cacique,'' a pre-Columbian Caribbean chief.

Rodriguez admitted four years ago that he used PEDs from 2001-03. Cabrera, Colon and Grandal were suspended for 50 games each last year by MLB following tests for elevated testosterone. Responding to the testosterone use, MLB and the players' union said Jan. 10 they were authorizing the World Anti-Doping Agency laboratory outside Montreal to store each major leaguer's baseline testosterone/epitestosterone (T/E) ratio in order to detect abnormalities.

``We are always extremely disappointed to learn of potential links between players and the use of performance-enhancing substances,'' MLB said in a statement. ``Only law enforcement officials have the capacity to reach those outside the game who are involved in the distribution of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. ... We are in the midst of an active investigation and are gathering and reviewing information.''

A baseball official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements, said Monday that MLB did not have any documentation regarding the allegations. If MLB does obtain evidence, the players could be subject to discipline. First offenses result in a 50-game suspension and second infractions in 100-game penalties. A third violation results in a lifetime ban.

Rodriguez is sidelined for at least the first half of the season after hip surgery Jan. 16. A 50-game suspension would cost him $7.65 million of his $28 million salary.

``The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true,'' Rodriguez said in a statement issued by a publicist. ``He was not Mr. Bosch's patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in the story - at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez - are not legitimate.''

Jay Reisinger, a lawyer who has represented Rodriguez in recent years, said the three-time AL MVP had retained Roy Black, an attorney from Rodriguez's hometown of Miami. Black's clients have included Rush Limbaugh and William Kennedy Smith.

Bosch did not return a phone message seeking comment.

MLB hopes to gain the cooperation of Bosch and others connected with the clinic, another baseball official said, also on condition of anonymity because no public statements on the matter were authorized. In order to successfully discipline players based on the records, witnesses would be needed to authenticate them, the official said.

Players could be asked to appear before MLB for interviews, but the official said MLB would be reluctant to request interviews before it has more evidence.

Rodriguez spent years denying he used PEDs before Sports Illustrated reported in February 2009 that he tested positive for two steroids in MLB's anonymous survey while with the Texas Rangers in 2003. Two days later, he admitted in an ESPN interview that he used PEDs over a three-year period. He has denied using PEDs after 2003.

If the new allegations were true, the Yankees would face high hurdles to get out of the final five years and $114 million of Rodriguez's record $275 million, 10-year contract. Because management and the players' union have a joint drug agreement, an arbitrator could determine that any action taken by the team amounted to multiple punishments for the same offense.

But if Rodriguez were to end his career because of the injury, about 85 percent of the money owed by the Yankees would be covered by insurance, one of the baseball officials said.

The Yankees said ``this matter is now in the hands of the commissioner's office'' and said they will not comment further until MLB's investigation ends.

Gonzalez, 21-8 for the Washington Nationals last season, posted on his Twitter feed: ``I've never used performance enhancing drugs of any kind and I never will, I've never met or spoken with tony Bosch or used any substance provided by him. anything said to the contrary is a lie.''

Colon was not issuing a statement, agent Adam Katz said through spokeswoman Lisa Cohen.

``We are aware of certain allegations and inferences,'' Cruz's law firm, Farrell & Reisinger, said in a statement. ``To the extent these allegations and inferences refer to Nelson, they are denied.''

Sam and Seth Levinson, the agents for Cabrera, Cruz and Gonzalez, did not respond to emails seeking comment. Greg Genske, Grandal's agent, also did not reply to an email.

Cruz and Gonzalez had not previously been linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Cruz hit 24 home runs last year for the Texas Rangers, who says they notified MLB last week after being contacted by the New Times.

The New Times report said it obtained notes by Bosch listing the players' names and the substances they received. Several unidentified employees and clients confirmed to the publication that the clinic distributed the substances, the paper said. The employees said that Bosch bragged of supplying drugs to professional athletes but that they never saw the sports stars in the office.

The paper said the records list that Rodriguez paid for HGH; testosterone cream; IGF-1, a substance banned by baseball that stimulates insulin production; and GHRP, which releases growth hormones.

Rodriguez's cousin, Yuri Sucart, also is listed as having purchased HGH. Sucart was banned from the Yankees clubhouse, charter flights, bus and other team-related activities by MLB in 2009 after Rodriguez said Sucart obtained and injected PEDs for him.

Also listed among the records, according to the New Times, are tennis player Wayne Odesnik, Cuban boxer Yuriorkis Gamboa and Jimmy Goins, the strength and conditioning coach of the University of Miami baseball team.

Odesnik, who lost in the first round of qualifying for this year's Australian Open, is a former top-100 player who was suspended by the International Tennis Federation after Australian customs officers found eight vials containing HGH in his luggage when he arrived in that country ahead of a January 2010 tournament. He denied using HGH and never tested positive for it. What originally was a two-year ban was cut in half because the ITF said Odesnik cooperated with its anti-doping program.

``The statement about Wayne's relationship with Mr. Bosch is completely false, and Wayne has contacted the reporter and newspaper for a retraction,'' the tennis player's mother, Janice Odesnik, wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

Mia Ro, a spokeswoman for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration in Miami, said she could not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation into Bosch or the clinic.

The University of Miami said it was conducting ``an intensive review'' of the matter but did not identify Goins by name.

Goins was ``very surprised'' to learn of the allegations raised by the New Times, according to a statement from Michelle A. White, of the Coral Gables law firm of Fenderson & Hampton, which said it was representing him.

White would not comment on whether Goins was a patient of Bosch but added that Goins ``has done nothing improper either personally or as a representative of the University of Miami,'' and denies any allegation or inference of wrongdoing.

---

Associated Press writers Jennifer Kay in Coral Cables, Fla., and Curt Anderson in Miami, and AP Sports Writers Howard Fendrich and Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

Quick Links

Patrick Corbin once again carves through San Francisco

giants-nats-corbin.jpg
USA TODAY SPORTS

Patrick Corbin once again carves through San Francisco

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Nationals beat the San Francisco Giants, 4-1, Thursday afternoon to move to 9-8. Here are five observations from the game...

1. If there is a reason to sign a pitcher for $140 million, spend a little more than everyone else on him and give an extra year in the contract, it showed up Thursday afternoon.

Patrick Corbin dominated for 7 ⅔ innings in a win against the San Francisco Giants. He did what Stephen Strasburg could not in the series opener: lockdown the National League’s worst offense.

Sean Doolittle worked the ninth. He allowed his first earned run of the season.

The win pushed the Nationals back over. 500 for the first time since April 13. Being one game over .500 ties a season-high. So, there’s that.

The rest of the week offers a path to being well above .500 by the time the Nationals come back to the District on Friday, April 26 to open a three-game series with the upstart San Diego Padres. The Nationals head to Miami for three games this weekend before moving onto Colorado. Combined records for those teams coming into Thursday? 10-27.

“I think now is that time [to get rolling],” Doolittle said. “I think it kind of started with this series. We had a chance to win the series against Pittsburgh. We kind of let it get away, but bouncing back, winning this series, we go on the road and face a couple teams that -- they're not playing their best right now. This is a chance maybe we can strike, win a couple series, come back home...we come back home, we got the Padres and the Cardinals, who are playing really well. This road trip's really important for us.”

2. The Giants continued to be a comfortable matchup for Corbin. They produced just a .439 OPS against him in six games last season. San Francisco struck out 46 times and had just 32 total bases in those six games.

Its offense is worse this year, helping lead to Thursday’s carving of them with back-foot sliders and 90-mph fastballs which appeared to be moving faster. Corbin allowed just two hits, a run, and struck out nine.

“I've faced [Brandon] Belt, I’ve faced [Brandon] Crawford a lot.” Corbin said. “They can do damage on lefties if you stay middle. So you can't take those at-bats off, you’ve got to still go out there and make quality pitches and we were just able to kind of do that throughout the course of the game. Just had a good gameplan, good flow and was able to work out.”

A sinker has also entered Corbin’s pitch mix more frequently.

“We all know at any point and any time, he can throw that slider,” catcher Yan Gomes said. “But it’s one of those things where maybe you guys are starting to notice it more, because his sinker is becoming a true left-handed sinker. He’s getting some good bite on it, good sink on it. And he’s getting some not-so-good swings on it. So we’re just going to keep going to that, knowing he can go to the slider at any time.”

Corbin’s shutdown of San Francisco followed his snuffing out of the Pittsburgh offense April 12. The Pirates scored one run in seven innings, conjured just four hits and struck out 11 times. His last two outings combined: 14 ⅔ innings, six hits, two earned runs, two walks, 20 strikeouts.

The consecutive outings make Corbin the team’s best starting pitcher to this point. His ERA is down to 2.36.

3. Wilmer Difo offense? For a day.

Difo homered, singled and walked, sending his average up to .229.

A sidenote to keep track of is Carter Kieboom in Triple-A Fresno. Kieboom is tearing through the Pacific Coast League. He’s hitting .422 with a 1.247 OPS. More intriguing is Kieboom has played 70 of his 100 innings this season at shortstop. The Nationals initially touted him as splitting time in a more even fashion between shortstop and second base in order to learn the right side of the bag.

He also has not committed an error. It’s hard to take a firm conclusion from that fact because it does not note his range or scoring decisions or simply plays that were not converted. But, it’s better than the alternative.

4. Washington came into the game 18th in MLB in strikeouts. Middle of the pack. Not bad.

Odd about their series with the Giants was the number of times they struck out looking. The Nationals struck out 30 times in the series. Of those, 15 strikeouts were looking.

Recall Nationals manager Davey Martinez was ejected Tuesday because of his irritation with Tony Randazzo’s strike zone. Thursday, numerous Giants and Nationals players were upset by the strike zone of Ryan Additon. San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy and left fielder Brandon Belt were both ejected for yelling at Additon.

Most of the called third strikes against Washington on Thursday appeared correct based on Gameday’s charting of location.

5. The schedule prompted another lineup pivot Thursday. Victor Robles was vaulted to the top of the order. Ryan Zimmerman was back at first base and hitting fourth. Michael A. Taylor took Robles’ place in the ninth spot.

The changes gave Adam Eaton his first day off of the season. Robles moved to right field to take his position.

The Nationals are in the midst of 25 games in 26 days following multiple days off to start the season. Such a run couples with Martinez being cognizant of protecting Howie Kendrick from playing too much -- despite his hot start (1.677 OPS in 20 at-bats) and being ranked fourth in exit velocity. He pinch-hit in the eighth inning.

“He's just having good at-bats,” Martinez said. “When he hits the ball, he's hitting the ball really hard. He's just squaring balls up. He's in a good place. It was tough, last night when I was thinking about the lineup, not to have him in there cause he's doing so well. But then again, he just came off a hamstring injury and I got to make sure he's available not just for today but for the whole season. We got to keep him fresh.”

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: 

Quick Links

Why Mike Rizzo is optimistic he'll get a deal done with Anthony Rendon

Why Mike Rizzo is optimistic he'll get a deal done with Anthony Rendon

Nationals manager Mike Rizzo is hopeful that Anthony Rendon will be staying in Washington and that a deal can be done before Rendon becomes a free agent following the 2019 season.

Rizzo joined The Junkies Wednesday morning, one day after NBC Sports Washington's Todd Dybas confirmed reports that the team met with Rendon on Tuesday to talk about his future in Washington. Rendon told Dybas in March that extension talks had come to a halt. 

Rizzo, when speaking on The Junkies, said he was hopeful they would and said the two had had a nice chat about their long history.

We go way back together and we were kind of reminiscing a little bit about where we've been and the next step in our relationship," he said. 

Rizzo has known Rendon since his high school days in Texas, and followed him closely at Rice University before drafting him with the sixth overall pick in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft. 

"We recognize what we have in Anthony, he recognizes what we've meant to him," he said. "Hopefully we can come to some sort of agreement." 

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: