Major League Baseball officials have begun interviewing players connected to Biogenesis, the South Florida anti-aging clinic that reportedly supplied performance-enhancing drugs to players, according to a statement released by the baseball players’ union Wednesday. Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez, who has denied taking performance-enhancing drugs, was among the players linked to the now shuttered clinic by a Miami New Times report in late January.
MLB is expected to seek suspensions in the coming weeks for about 20 players, including all-stars Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, linked to Biogenesis, according to an ESPN report published Tuesday night. The report said that Gonzalez is the only player who “will be scrutinized but possibly exonerated” and two unnamed sources said that the substances Gonzalez received from the clinic were legal. Clinic founder Anthony Bosch reportedly has agreed to cooperate with MLB’s investigation.
It’s unclear whether Gonzalez has been interviewed yet. As of two and half weeks ago, players had not been interviewed. MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner told the Post in April he didn’t expect any players to refuse to be interviewed. Players are allowed to have a union attorney with them during the interviews. Gonzalez couldn’t be reached for comment at Nationals Park before Wednesday’s game. A MLB spokesman declined to comment.
“The Commissioner’s Office has assured us that no decisions regarding discipline have been made or will be made until those interviews are completed,” Weiner said in Wednesday’s statement. “It would be unfortunate if anyone prejudged those investigations. The Players Association has every interest in both defending the rights of players and in defending the integrity of our joint program. We trust that the Commissioner’s Office shares these interests.”
Gonzalez was among those linked in January to the clinic, founder Anthony Bosch and several substances by a Miami New Times report in January. Gonzalez has maintained that he didn’t have any contact with Bosch. He also said he wasn’t a patient of the clinic and has never used performance-enhancing drugs. According to Gonzalez, his father, Max, was in fact the client of Biogenesis and for weight-loss medicine. Max Gonzalez didn’t return a message seeking comment Tuesday night.
The Nationals have publicly and privately expressed confidence that Gonzalez will avoid a suspension. Asked about the new revelations on Wednesday, General Manager Mike Rizzo declined comment.
“As far as I’m concerned, that’s old news,” Manager Davey Johnson said. “That came out in the spring. We’ll wait on the latest whatever it is.”
Gonzalez said during spring training that he passed a drug test administered two days after the report was published on Jan. 29. The league, however, doesn’t require a failed drug test to suspend a player. MLB can issue a 50-game suspension if it proves the player used or possessed banned substances. According to the new ESPN report, MLB officials might seek 100-game suspensions for players it deems guilty of a second offense; the first the connection to Bosch, the second counting as their previous denials.