ESPN follows Miami newspaper with story of alleged PED distribution and use in Florida
Stories, days apart, name pro baseball players, including Alex Rodriguez
Newspaper story is "not legitimate," rep for Rodriguez said Tuesday
Another rep says of Friday ESPN story allegations: "They are not true"
Alex Rodriguez is denying any connection to a Miami man who a South Florida newspaper and ESPN reported provided the New York Yankees star with performance-enhancing drugs.
The Miami New Times published a story Tuesday saying more than a dozen professional baseball players, including Rodriguez, and other athletes were named in records kept over several years by the Biogenesis clinic.
“The purported documents referenced in the story – at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez – are not legitimate,” a statement from his public relations agent said.
CNN has been unable to independently obtain the documents the newspaper said it based its reporting on.
Meanwhile, ESPN.com published a story Friday quoting unidentified sources as describing how the man who ran Biogenesis allegedly would go to Rodriguez’s waterfront mansion when summoned and inject the star player with performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).
That brought this response from a Rodriguez spokesman: “In regards to the new allegations made in today’s ESPN Outside the Lines story, we can say that they are not true,” Terry Fahn of Sitrick and Company communications said Friday.
“Alex is working diligently on his (physical) rehabilitation and is looking forward to getting back on the field as soon as possible.”
Rodriguez, 37, has admitted in the past to using performance-enhancing drugs, but he also has denied taking any after 2003. He has never been suspended by the league for a drug violation.
The Miami New Times report identified other players in addition to Rodriguez as being named in handwritten notes of Anthony Bosch, chief of the Biogenesis clinic. The records, according to the report, detail the selling of banned supplements such as human growth hormone, testosterone and anabolic steroids.
Major League Baseball released a statement following the newspaper report, acknowledging “that three of the players allegedly involved have already been disciplined under the Joint Drug Program.”
While the league did not list which of the previously disciplined players it was referencing, the newspaper report did name Oakland A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon, San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera and San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal. All three served suspensions for violations of baseball’s performance enhancing drug rules last year.
Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez, also named by the paper, posted a response on his Twitter account Tuesday morning.
“I’ve never used performance enhancing drugs of any kind and I never will,” Gonzalez tweeted. “I’ve never met or spoken with Tony Bosch or used any substance.”
A statement from Rodriguez’s representatives followed the Miami New Times report, declaring, “The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true … Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. Bosch’s patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him.”
The newspaper said its article was mostly based on handwritten notes believed to have been kept by Bosch. The notebooks were give to the paper by a former employee of the clinic, which recently closed.
ESPN’s report Friday focused on Rodriguez and what unidentified sources described as a personal relationship between the player and Bosch.
“Only Tony handled A-Rod,” one source was quoted as saying. The ESPN report recounted a purported scenario in which Bosch would make visits to Rodriguez’s home “every few weeks.” On one occasion last spring, an ESPN source said, Bosch told his associates he had been kicked out of Rodriguez’s home after he had trouble locating a vein and the player became infuriated.
ESPN quoted Bosch as terming the allegations against him “bull—-” and “all wrong,” and cited a statement from his attorney in which Bosch denied the allegations.
Major League Baseball, meanwhile, said after the initial newspaper report, “We are always extremely disappointed to learn of potential links between players and the use of performance-enhancing substances … These developments, however, provide evidence of the comprehensive nature of our anti-drug efforts.”
The league said its investigations department was “actively involved in the issues in South Florida.”
“We are in the midst of an active investigation and are gathering and reviewing information,” the league said. “We will refrain from further comment until this process is complete.”
Contacted by CNN Friday and asked whether the organization had a response to the ESPN story, MLB spokesman Patrick Courtney responded, “There is not. We issued a statement on Tuesday saying we are investigating. This would fall into that. Thank you.”
A CNN crew went to the Coral Gables, Florida, address of the Biogenesis clinic Tuesday and found its offices vacant. CNN has been unable to reach Bosch, who headed the clinic.