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Inquiry may yield new MLB names

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Michael S. Schmidt and Duff Wilson
New York Times / March 12, 2008

Prosecutors at the US attorney's office for the Northern District of California are investigating a California doctor to determine whether he illegally wrote prescriptions for patients, including major league baseball players, according to three lawyers who have been briefed on the investigation.

This investigation raises the possibility the sport will face new revelations about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the wake of the Mitchell Report.

The doctor, Ramon Scruggs, was linked last year to prescribing steroids to two major league players, Troy Glaus and Scott Schoeneweis, in 2003 and 2004. The information about Scruggs resulted from an investigation into an Internet ring of pharmacies and anti-aging clinics conducted by the Albany County district attorney's office in New York and by authorities in Florida and Alabama.

The federal prosecutors from California, who have led most of the major steroids investigations in recent years, were not involved in the Internet case, but they are now looking closely at Scruggs, according to the three lawyers. One of the lawyers is a law enforcement official based outside California. None of them were authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.

One of the lawyers said the current investigation had uncovered the names of other major league players who had received prescriptions from Scruggs. Those names are unlikely to be disclosed immediately if legal action is taken, as expected, against Scruggs in the coming months.

"It's not as big as Radomski, but certainly is something significant," one of the lawyers said in characterizing the investigation, referring to the investigation of former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski. As part of a plea agreement with those same California prosecutors, Radomski revealed the names of dozens of current and former players for the report released in December by former Senator George Mitchell.

Scruggs, 60, did not respond to three telephone messages left with the receptionist at his medical office in Tustin, Calif., near Los Angeles. He also did not answer a list of questions faxed to his office at the request of his assistant. Scruggs's lawyer, Carlos F. Negrete, did not respond to two messages left at his office.

Scruggs was barred last year from prescribing over the Internet as part of a probation agreement with the California medical board.

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