As teams prepare for the start of spring training, Major League Baseball is dealing with a PED crisis and once again Alex Rodriguez is the alleged focal point.
An explosive story in the Miami New Times links Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez, and others to a shady Miami drug dispenser, Anthony Bosch.
The story, by Tim Elfrink, is rich in detail and casts further doubts on the veracity of Rodriguez.
In 2009, when Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games for elevated testosterone, he was being treated by Dr. Pedro Bosch, the father of Anthony Bosch.
MLB responded with a statement this morning. It reads, in part:
“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. Through our Department of Investigations, we have been actively involved in the issues in South Florida. It is also important to note that three of the players allegedly involved have already been disciplined under the Joint Drug Program.
" ... 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."
Given his history, the Yankees could mount a legal challenge to Rodriguez's contract, which still has five years and $114 million remaining. Team president Randy Levine is combative enough to try it.
The Yankees issued this statement:
“We fully support the Commissioner’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. This matter is now in the hands of the Commissioner’s Office. We will have no further comment until that investigation has concluded.”
Rodriguez is expected to miss much of the coming season recovering from hip surgery.
UPDATE, 12:56 p.m.: Rodriguez is denying the charges. His handlers released this statement:
"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 purported documents referenced in the story -- at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez -- are not legitimate."
Rodriguez has hired Roy Black to represent him in this matter.