NEW YORK – Alex Rodriguez was ensnared in a doping investigation 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 ALCS 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.
The New Times posted copies of what it said were Bosch’s handwritten records, obtained through a former Biogenesis employee it did not identify.
Rodriguez appears 16 times in the documents it 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.
Rodriguez is sidelined for at least the first half of the season after hip surgery Jan. 16.
“The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch is 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 Rodriguez had retained Roy Black, a lawyer from Rodriguez’s hometown of Miami.
MLB hopes to gain the cooperation of Bosch and others connected with the clinic, another baseball official said. 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.