Spring headlines: More players linked to Biogenesis; Bryce Harper bulks up the old-fashioned way

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

Just when you found yourself thinking, "Phew, it's been a couple days since we had a PED story" comes the latest from Biogenesis. That's the Miami-area clinic run by Anthony Bosch, alleged to have supplied performance-enhancing drugs to players such as Alex Rodriguez and Melky Cabrera, among others.

A new ESPN report adds five more names to the list of players in the clinic's records: San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, Oakland Athletics pitcher Jordan Norberto, Houston Astros outfielder Fernando Martinez, San Diego Padres pitcher Fautino De Los Santos and Cesar Puello, an outfield prospect for the Mets.

In addition, ESPN, which obtained new records about Biogenesis, says Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez did not receive PEDs from Bosch.

Sources said the players, like those who have been named in previous Biogenesis documents, were on a list as having received performance-enhancing drugs, although the documents are not proof that the players either received or used PEDs.

According to two sources familiar with Bosch's operation, however, the Washington Nationals' Gio Gonzalez, previously identified as being named in Biogenesis documents, did not receive banned substances from Bosch or the clinic. Both sources, speaking independently, identified Gonzalez as the only Bosch client named thus far who did not receive performance-enhancing drugs.

The most notable player on the list is Everth Cabrera, the Padres' shortshop, who led the National League in stolen bases in 2012 while hitting .246/.324/.324.

All five of the new players have current or former ties to the ACES sports agency, which now has relationships with 10 players named in Biogenesis documents, including Melky Cabrera.

The new records also provide additional reference to players previously mentioned in media reports as being listed in Biogenesis paperwork, including Melky Cabrera, Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, Francisco Cervelli, Ryan Braun and Yasmani Grandal.

If you're tired of PED talk, just think: actual spring training games begin Thursday and Friday.

Bryce Harper is bulked up and ready to resume living his dream with the Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper reported to training camp almost 20 pounds heavier than last season, but that's not Chipotle weight. It's muscle.

James Wagner of The Washington Post calls Harper, 20, "linebacker-sized" at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds.

Harper built his body as big and strong as he could during the winter, an offseason activity he has made a mission since high school. He loses weight quickly; playing baseball nearly everyday for the next eight months, especially the hell-bent way Harper does, can do that to a body. By the end of spring training, Harper figures he will lose 10 pounds.

Since mid-November, when he started lifting again, Harper set his alarm for 4:50 a.m. four times a week, was up by 5 and was at Soder’s training facility in Las Vegas by 5:30 to join a group of minor league and major league players. The intense, non-stop workouts last between 90 minutes and two hours, a little longer on leg days. His older brother, Bryan, 23, a Nationals minor league pitcher, accompanied him.

“It gives me a good time to relax and hang out and clear my mind,” Harper said. “Lifting and stuff really helps me clear my mind. I love it.”

Halladay unlikely to be Opening Day starter: After three straight seasons on the mound for Opening Day, Roy Halladay is likely to lose his No. 1 spot in the rotation. Halladay, coming off a 2012 that was both disappointing and injury-plagued, will probably yield the Philadelphia Phillies Opening Day rights to Cole Hamels.

From MLB.com's Todd Zolecki:

Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said Monday afternoon that Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels will probably pitch in the first series of the season in Atlanta, but he also said he thinks the Phillies need to split the left-handed-throwing Lee and Hamels with a right-hander. That suggests Hamels or Lee will get the nod Opening Day on April 1 at Turner Field.

Hamels makes the most sense because he is coming off the best season.

"I think it's how we line up best," Dubee said. "Realistically, we could pitch anybody the first day as far as Doc, Cole and Cliff. On most staffs, they are No. 1 starters, so they all could pitch opening day. But part of what we're thinking is trying to split those two lefties."

Because you're wondering: The top bid for famous Curt Schilling's bloody sock that is, oddly, up for auction? Currently $60,000. You can track the bidding online — because the only thing weirder than a bloody sock being for sale online is stalking the auction. Internet bidding ends Friday night. The final sale will happen at a live auction Saturday and Sunday in New York City. The final price is expected to top $100,000, which is about what Schilling got paid in 1990, his first season with the Baltimore Orioles.

Photo of the day: The Chicago Cubs began the second year of their bunting tournament. Days like this, we wish Sammy Sosa were still around.

Tweet of the day: Presented without comment.

Spring training is here. Stretch out with us.
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