Major League Baseball apparently has another doping scandal on its hands, this time centered on a clinic in the Miami area instead of BALCO and the Bay Area. Many of the names listed in the New Times of Miami story, published on Tuesday morning, are old hat when it comes to PEDs: Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon, for example. The details on A-Rod, however, are new. The report says the New York Yankees star bought HGH as recently as 2012, along with testosterone creams and an insulin-like growth factor, all of which are banned in MLB. That would contradict A-Rod's PED confession from 2009, when he said he hadn't touched drugs since 2003.
Then there's the new blood.
In addition to players already associated with PEDs, or even suspended because of them, slugger Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers and left-hander Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals appear in the records of lab operator Anthony Bosch. Yahoo! Sports' own Jeff Passan describes Bosch as "a self-styled biochemist seen frequently in Latin American baseball circles."
The Texas Rangers knew this story was coming and don't have much of a comment so far. Gonzalez has issued a denial, saying he's never used PEDs and doesn't know Bosch. Major League Baseball says its investigation is "ongoing."
Based on the information published, it's too early to determine if any of these players will be punished by MLB. Cabrera, Colon and others have already served 50-game suspensions for positive drug tests. Learning how they got the drugs that led to their suspensions might be useful, but it might not be punishable if they keep passing drug tests.
Regarding Cruz, the New Times writes:
According to his July 2012 client sheet, Bosch sold $4,000 of product to Nelson Cruz, whom he nicknames "Mohamad." Cruz, the power-hitting Dominican outfielder for the Texas Rangers, has whacked 130 bombs in his eight-year career without any links to performance-enhancing drugs. Until now. Bosch writes in his 2012 book: "Need to call him, go Thur to Texas, take meds from April 5-May 5, will owe him troches and... and will infuse them in May."
Product. The client sheet apparently doesn't say what product, much less if it's illegal or on the list of MLB's banned substances. Regardless, the Dallas Morning News already is asking if the Rangers can make the playoffs if Cruz is suspended.
Gonzalez's name appears five times in Bosch's records, including once to buy something called Aminorip. This is what Gonzalez says, as quoted by the Washington Times:
"I've never used performance-enhancing drugs of any kind, and I never will," Gonzalez said. "I've never met or spoken with Tony Bosch or used any substances provided by him. Anything said to the contrary is a lie."
Gio Gonzalez's father's also has been a client of Bosch's and is mentioned in the records, further muddying the waters. The New Times reached him for comment:
[R]eached by phone, the Hialeah resident insists his son has had no contact with Bosch.
"My son works very, very hard, and he's as clean as apple pie," the elder Gonzalez says. "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?"
Expect MLB to interrogate Gonzalez, Cruz and others for more information. We could use a lot more details before forming a further opinion of what went on.