By Michael S. Schmidt
The New York Times
An antiaging clinic in Coral Gables, Fla., that had been under the scrutiny of Major League Baseball for several months has now been cited in a published report as a supplier of performance-enhancing drugs to a half-dozen players, including the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez.
Miami New Times, in an article published Tuesday, reported that an unidentified former employee of the clinic, Biogenesis of America, which is now closed, had provided the newspaper with medical records from the facility that tie Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez, Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz, and Yasmani Grandal to the use of performance-enhancers.
The newspaper accompanied the online article with copies of what it said were handwritten notations from the clinic that list various drugs allegedly distributed to its clients. But the documents have not been independently authenticated and several players, including Rodriguez, have denied being patients of the clinic.
Cabrera, Colon, and Grandal were suspended in the past year by baseball for positive drug tests. Gonzalez and Cruz have not previously been linked to the use of performance-enhancers. Rodriguez, 37, who is now recovering from hip surgery, has admitted to using performance-enhancers from 2001 to 2003.
In a statement several hours after the report emerged, Rodriguez denied he had any relationship with the director of the clinic, Anthony Bosch, or that he was ever treated by him.
The statement, issued through the public relations firm Sitrick and Co., said: ‘‘The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true. Alex Rodriguez was not 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.’’
Gonzalez also issued a denial, through Twitter, stating: ‘‘I’ve never used performance-enhancing drugs of any kind and I never will. I’ve never met or spoke with Tony Bosch or used any substance.’’
The Yankees, meanwhile, said they fully supported baseball’s drug program and that they would have no comment until an investigation by the commissioner’s office had concluded.
According to an ESPN.com report, if MLB disciplines Rodriguez as a result of these allegations, the Yankees will try to void the remainder of his five-year, $114-million contract.
And in its own statement, MLB said it was ‘‘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 antidrug efforts,’’ the statement added. ‘‘Through our Department of Investigations, we have been actively involved in the issues in South Florida.’’
Although Rodriguez has denied using performance-enhancers after 2003, investigators for MLB have questioned him several times in recent years about possible drug links and in each instance he has maintained his stance. According to two people in baseball, the investigators now plan to question him again, along with the others cited in the Miami New Times report.
Until now, MLB did not have any documents that linked players using the clinic to performance-enhancers. The investigators, the two people said, will now seek to obtain the records cited by Miami New Times and authenticate them in the hopes of using them as evidence to discipline the players.
Unlike the federal government, baseball’s investigators do not have the power to subpoena documents to compel witnesses to talk to them. They hope to talk to Bosch but have not yet attempted to do so. Their hope is that federal investigators of the clinic will be able to obtain records and testimony that ultimately could help baseball determine what disciplinary measures may be called for.
Baseball first became aware of the clinic in 2009 when its investigators uncovered evidence that former Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez had received a banned drug from the facility. Ramirez was suspended 50 games for that infraction.