NEW YORK (AP) — Alex Rodriguez was ensnared in a doping investigation once again.
An alternative weekly newspaper reported on Tuesday that baseball’s highest-paid star was among a half-dozen players listed in records of a Florida clinic that old performance-enhancing drugs.
The Miami New Times said the three-time AL MVP bought human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing substances during 2009-2012 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 AL championship series MVP Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers.
Cabrera left San Francisco after the season to sign with Toronto while Oakland re-signed Colon.
Other baseball players that allegedly 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.
“There was a flier put out by the building management a couple weeks ago. It was put on all the doors and windows of all the offices,” said Brad Nickel, who works in a group cruise planning company on the floor above where the clinic was located. “It just said this guy’s not really a doctor, he doesn’t belong here, he’s no longer allowed here, call the police or the building management if you see him.”
David Sierra, who works in his aunt’s real estate office in the same building, kept a picture of the flier on his iPhone. He recognized the doctor in the picture from passing him in the hallway.
Sierra said while he never recognized any of the clients at the clinic, “there were always really nice cars in front — I’m not talking just Mercedes. Range Rovers, Bentleys.”
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 on Jan. 10 that 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.
“We are always extremely disappointed to learn of potential links between players and the use of performance-enhancing substances,” MLB said in a statement. “Only law enforcement officials have the capacity to reach those outside the game who are involved in the distribution of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. … We are in the midst of an active investigation and are gathering and reviewing information.”
A baseball official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements, said Monday that MLB did not have any documentation regarding the allegations. If MLB does obtain evidence, the players could be subject to discipline. First offenses result in a 50-game suspension and second infractions in 100-game penalties. A third violation results in a lifetime ban.
Rodriguez is sidelined for at least the first half of the season after hip surgery Jan. 16. A 50-game suspension would cost him $7.65 million of his $28 million salary.
“The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are 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 the three-time AL MVP had retained Roy Black, an attorney from Rodriguez’s hometown of Miami. Black’s clients have included Rush Limbaugh and William Kennedy Smith.
Bosch did not return a phone message seeking comment.
MLB hopes to gain the cooperation of Bosch and others connected with the clinic, another baseball official said, also on condition of anonymity because no public statements on the matter were authorized. In order to successfully discipline players based on the records, witnesses would be needed to authenticate them, the official said.