Major League Baseball is investigating an anti-aging clinic in Miami that, according to a published report Tuesday, was a supplier of performance-enhancing drugs to a handful of active major league players, including a number of prominent stars. Among those listed in the report was Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez.
The story in the Miami New Times said Gonzalez’s name appeared in the handwritten notes of Anthony Bosch, the chief of the clinic, Biogenesis. Bosch’s records, according to the report, detail the sale of banned supplements such as human growth hormone, testosterone and anabolic steroids to Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees and Melky Cabrera of the Toronto Blue Jays, among others.
Gonzalez, third in National League Cy Young voting in 2012, was not directly connected to HGH and testosterone. The report linked him to three substances listed as zinc, MIC and Aminorip. It was not immediately clear what MIC and Aminorip are, or if they appear on MLB’s list of banned substances.
Gonzalez denied he used performance-enhancing drugs on his Twitter account Tuesday.
“I’ve never used performance enhancing drugs of any kind and I never will,” Gonzalez wrote. “I’ve never met or spoken with tony Bosch or used any substance ... Provided by him.anything said to the contrary is a lie.”
Attempts to contact Gonzalez were unsuccessful.
Gonzalez’s father, Max, denied his son’s use of any banned substances to the New Times and said that it was he, not his son, who had consulted with Bosch to lose weight.
“My son works very, very hard, and he’s as clean as apple pie,” Max Gonzalez told the alternative weekly. “I went to Tony because I needed to lose weight. A friend recommended him, and he did great work for me. But that’s it. He never met my son. Never. And if I knew he was doing these things with steroids, do you think I’d be dumb enough to go there?”
Max Gonzalez did not respond to multiple calls and text messages seeking comment.
According to the New Times report, Aminorip is a “muscle-building protein.” The company’s Web site, AminoRipCollagen.com, says the product is “designed to repair your muscles and skin tone, joint flexibility and for weight management, along with healthier and rejuvenated bones, hair and skin.”
Aminorip isn’t listed on MLB’s list of banned substances and neither are any of the ingredients listed on the company’s Web site. A message left at the company’s main line wasn’t returned.
Todd Schlifstein, a consulting physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and an expert in performance-enhancing substances in sports, said it’s hard to tell what Aminorip is.
“Say the FDA bans a supplement because it’s too closely acting like testosterone, so they alter it a little bit and name it under a different company and name,” he said. “It happens all the time. The supplement market is hard to keep up with.”
Zinc is dietary supplement and Schlifstein said he did not consider it questionable. He suggested MIC could be a combination of methionine, insotol and choline and could be injected to break down fat in weight-loss programs.
Bosch and his father, Pedro Publio Bosch, according to the report, were investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration for allegedly providing former major league slugger Manny Ramirez with a banned substance in 2009 but weren’t charged with a crime. Four of the six major league players linked to Anthony Bosch in the New Times report were previous users of performance-enhancing drugs.
Rodriguez and Cabrera, both of whom have been previously caught using banned supplements, are named prominently in the report. Oakland pitcher Bartolo Colon, Texas slugger Nelson Cruz and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal were also among the players listed. Grandal, Cabrera and Colon were issued 50-game suspensions last season by MLB. Rodriguez, who admitted in 2009 to using steroids from 2001 to 2003, refuted the report in a statement on Tuesday and said he was never Bosch’s patient. The Rangers also released a statement Tuesday saying the New Times contacted them last week and informed MLB about it.
Gonzalez, a Hialeah, Fla., native, was mentioned five times in Bosch’s notebooks, according to the published report, including a specific 2012 annotation that referred to an order of “Zinc/MIC/…and Aminorip” for $1,000.
Attempts to reach Biogenesis and Bosch were unsuccessful.
MLB’s statement Tuesday said the league’s department of investigations had already been looking into the allegations.
“We are always extremely disappointed to learn of potential links between players and the use of performance-enhancing substances,” the statement said. “We are in the midst of an active investigation and are gathering and reviewing information. We will refrain from further comment until this process is complete.”
The Nationals released a brief statement from General Manager Mike Rizzo Tuesday saying the team would not comment on the report until MLB finishes its investigation.