In a story posted on the Miami New Times website on Tuesday (read the whole thing here) Alex Rodriguez, Gio Gonzalez, Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera were among the players linked to receiving performance enhancing drugs from Miami’s Biogenesis clinic.
For Rodriguez and Cabrera, it’s not the first time they’ve been accused of using the drugs.
Gonzalez, the Washington Nationals starter who finished third in the NL Cy Young voting this past season, had never been previously linked to PEDs.
Both Rodriguez and Gonzalez have already issued statements denying any involvement with Anthony Bosch, who runs the Biogenesis clinic.
In 2009, Rodriguez admitted to using steroids during his time with the Texas Rangers – between 2001 and 2003 – but had denied using beyond that point. The New Times piece claims that Rodriguez’s name – or nickname – was mentioned 16 times in the Biogenesis files, in a date range after 2003.
Major League Baseball issued a press release today stating that it is currently doing its own investigation of the Biogenesis case. Here is an excerpt:
“Vigilance remains the key toward protecting the integrity of our game. We have the best and most stringent drug testing policy in professional sports, we continue to work with our doctors and trainers to learn what they are seeing day-to-day and we educate our players about the game’s unbending zero-tolerance approach. We remain fully committed to following all leads and seeking the appropriate outcomes for all those who use, purchase and are involved in the distribution of banned substances, which have no place in our game.
“We are in the midst of an active investigation and are gathering and reviewing information. We will refrain from further comment until this process is complete.”
A few weeks ago, MLB and the MLB Players Union announced a new set of standards for PED testing, including in-season tests for hGH and increased testosterone. Under the new agreement, players do not need to test positive to face suspension. Possession of PEDs is enough to force a player off the field.
What does it all mean? Well, this will take some time for MLB to respond. If any of the players linked in the New Times report wind up testing positive – or merely possessing PEDs – they’re in for a 50-game suspension. In Melky Cabrera’s case, since he was already suspended 50 games for elevated testosterone last year, he’d be facing a 100-game suspension for a second offense. A third violation results in a lifetime ban.
If this proves to be true in Rodriguez’s case, it presents an interesting challenge for the Yankees. The slugging third baseman is already set to miss at least the first half of the 2013 season and may not return at all. A 50-game suspension would keep him off the field even longer. Rodriguez has never been able to stay away from controversy in New York, which was underlined last year by Yankees manager Joe Girardi both pinch-hitting for A-Rod and leaving him out of the lineup entirely during the postseason. Would this finally force the Yankees over the edge on a player who has five years and $114 million (plus an additional $30 million in incentives left on his contract)?
What’s the next step for A-Rod? Let me know what you think on Twitter: @THR_Montgomery.