The fallout from the Al Jazeera HGH report has begun in the form of an 80-game suspension for free-agent catcher Taylor Teagarden.
MLB announced Teagarden’s suspension Friday, making him the first player named in the report to face a punishment directly because of Al Jazeera’s “The Dark Side: The Secret World of Sports Doping.” MLBers Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman were also named, as was former NFL great Peyton Manning.
All vehemently denied the allegations and further reports showed that private investigators hired by Manning’s lawyers showed up at the house of the documentary’s key witness five days before the report aired. The doctor cited in the report, Charlie Sly, has also since rescinded his allegations.
Teagarden appeared on-camera in the report and talked openly about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. The former Cubs catcher played sparingly for the club last year, so when the Al Jazeera report was broadcast, the allegations surprised Cubs President Theo Epstein. He told ESPN he was disappointed if the allegations were true and was as surprised as anyone when he first heard about them.
“Completely surprised,” Epstein said Friday afternoon. “I don’t know anything about it other than what I’ve heard about the report. I don’t want to try a guy from afar, but if the allegations are true it’s really disappointing.”
In 2015, Teagarden appeared in only eight games for the Cubs before being sent down to the organization’s AAA squad. Now in his eighth year in the league, the 32-year old has also played for the Mets, Orioles, and Rangers.