Major League Baseball is expected to seek suspensions in the coming weeks for about 20 players, including all-stars Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, connected to the now shuttered South Florida anti-aging clinic that is under investigation for reportedly supplying performance-enhancing drugs to players, according to an ESPN report published Tuesday night.
According to the report, Washington Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez is the only player linked to the Biogenesis clinic who “will be scrutinized but possibly exonerated.” Echoing a report from the same outlet in February, two unnamed sources told ESPN that the substances Gonzalez received from the clinic were legal.
Gonzalez was among those linked in January to the clinic, founder Anthony Bosch and several substances, including a testosterone-laden “pink cream,” by a Miami New Times report. 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 immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday night.
According a document cited by ESPN in its February report, Gonzalez allegedly received ”$1,000 worth of substances, but under ‘notes’ are several substances not banned by Major League Baseball: ‘gluthetyn’ (which a source said was a misspelling of glutathione), ‘IM [intramuscular] shots,’ and amino acids.” The report said that “glutathione is an anti-oxidant” and cited one source that noted that the “‘IM shots’ Gonzalez received were ‘MICs,’ a medically dubious but legal combination of methionine, inositol and choline, often used for weight loss.”
The Nationals have publicly and privately expressed confidence that Gonzalez will avoid a suspension. Gonzalez said 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.
MLB officials have been adamant in their desire to investigate Bosch, connected players and the agency ACES, whose players and a former employee were also linked to the clinic. In March, MLB sued Biogenesis and others connected to the clinic. The New Times decided in March not to hand over Biogenesis documents to MLB officials. According to the new ESPN report, Bosch has decided to cooperate with MLB’s investigation.
MLB was expected to interview linked players and, as of two weeks ago, it appeared those meetings had not yet happened. Although some reported evidence supported Gonzalez’s claims of innocence, league officials viewed Gonzalez’s status in the investigation the same as the other linked players. In April, players union chief Michael Weiner expressed confidence in Gonzalez’s case.