When the initial, explosive, Miami New Times' report on the Coral Gables, Florida-based Biogenesis clinic was first published, Washington Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez's name was one of several mentioned as having a connection to the anti-aging clinic and its chief, Anthony Bosch, whose personal, hand-written notebooks contained the names of at least seven major league players who allegedly received performance-enhancing drugs. The 27-year-old Nats' starter took to Twitter to deny the allegations made in the article.
"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." As noted in the investigative piece, however, Gonzalez's father had visited the clinic seeking weight loss advice. Max Gonzalez denied his son had any involvement with the clinic.
Gonzalez next talked about the situation when he arrived at Spring Training a week ago today. Asked if he thought he would eventually be cleared of any wrongdoing, the former Oakland A's starter who won 21 games for the NL East champion Nationals in his first year in Washington, D.C. in 2012, told reporters at the time he was sure MLB's investigation would prove he was telling the truth. "I feel very confident," Gonzalez said, "I think that at the end of the day, I've never taken performance-enhancing drugs and I never will. So, I'm actually pretty excited about this year." Though his name appeared five times in the notebooks of the clinic's chief, Mr. Bosch, Gonzalez maintained that the only thing tying him to the clinic was his father.
Gonzalez said he didn't know that his father had gone to the clinic and he had no idea what the "pink cream" mentioned on a page with his name on it was and had never used it. As things stood a week ago, Gonzalez was just waiting for MLB to complete its investigation into the Miami New Times' report. "What's happening now," Gonzalez said, "is that I've cooperated with MLB and I've done everything they want and I feel strong with their program and what they're doing and at the end of the day, it's waiting on them."
An ESPN.com report tonight supports Gonzalez's claims. ESPN's investigative reporters Mike Fish and T.J. Quinn added five names to the list of players connected to the clinic, but Gonzalez, they wrote, never received any PEDs from the Biogenesis clinic:
"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."
The writer's sources "speaking independently" said Gonzalez was, "... the only Bosch client named thus far who did not receive performance-enhancing drugs." A "document" described as a 'computer printout" obtained by "Outside the Lines" showed that Gonzalez had received "$1,000 worth of substances," none of them banned by Major League Baseball:
"[Gonzalez] is said to have 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.
"Glutathione is an anti-oxidant, and one source said the 'IM shots' Gonzalez received were 'MICs,' a medically dubious but legal combination of methionine, inositol and choline, often used for weight loss."
"It's an unusual thing to be reporting. But out of all these names," T.J. Quinn, said in an interview included with the ESPN report, "We've spoken to a number of different sources with this and we also saw documents that back up that claim. Both people said completely independently of each other that no, Gio is the one guy who didn't get something and because they pulled his name out specifically we looked into it. There's a document that says he got $1,000 of worth of something, but the different substances that were listed next to his name were not banned drugs. They were amino acids, anti-oxidants, things like that. Things that he probably could have gotten easily from some sort of GNC or any other legitimate source."
Though Mr. Quinn cautioned that "nothing is definitive based on these documents," he said, "What they said was, 'No, he didn't get drugs.' That his father actually got some weight loss drugs. But we felt it was worth reporting."
• (ed. note - "If you're just finding out about this story, here's the last report containing Gio Gonzalez's quotes from ST and a whole lot of links to previous reports."):
"What's happening now," Gio Gonzalez told reporters this afternoon after the 27-year-old left-hander's first official workout of the 2013 campaign, "is that I've cooperated with MLB and I've done everything they want and I feel strong with their program and what they're doing and at the end of the day, it's waiting on them."
Gonzalez's name was one of seven included in an explosive Miami New Times' report by Tim Elfrink which linked major league players to an anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Florida that is suspected of having provided performance-enhancing drugs to professional athletes. Since then five more names have come out in subsequent reports. Gonzalez's name appeared five times in the personal, hand-written notebooks of the clinic's chief Anthony Bosch.
Gonzalez denied any connection to the clinic immediately, though his father admitted in the article that he had visited the clinic and sought weight loss advice. The Nats' pitcher's father was clear that his son had no connection to the clinic from the start. Gonzalez has never failed a drug test and he said he has never taken performance-enhancing drugs. The Nationals' 21-game winner reiterated that point this afternoon when asked if he was confident his name would eventually be cleared.
"I feel very confident," Gonzalez said, "I think that at the end of the day, I've never taken performance-enhancing drugs and I never will. So, I'm actually pretty excited about this year."
The Miami New Times published images of each mention of Gonzalez's name in the notebooks of Mr. Bosch. In spite of the fact that he's mentioned in them, Gonzalez insisted today that he has no personal connection to the clinic. "[My] father already admitted that he was a patient there, a legitimate patient," Gonzalez said, "And then after that, you know how my father is, if you guys have been around him, all of South Florida, all of baseball knows that my father is the most proud father in baseball, says, 'Hi,' tells everyone about his son and that's the best I can say. Other than that I have no clue why my name was on that list or on the notebook or anything."
Gonzalez didn't know his father had visited the clinic before the report. "No, I didn't, that I didn't know," Gonzalez said. He has never used any "pink cream" though. The ingredients for what was described in the Miami New Times' article as, "... a complex formula that also includes testosterone," were on a page which also had Gonzalez's name and stats from the first few starts of the year, but Gonzalez said he didn't know anything about it. Was it something he was familiar with or that his father received? "No. No. No," Gonzalez repeated, "Not at all."
The Nats' lefty also wanted the press to know that he didn't want this story to become a distraction for the defending NL East champions. "I'm going to do my best to keep it away from the locker room and cooperate with you guys and make sure that you guys get what you want and stuff like that," Gonzalez told reporters today, "but at the end of the day, I don't want this to be a distraction to the team. I don't want any of this to be about me. Again, it's about the organization, it's about the team together. This should definitely not be a distraction for the guys."
Asked how he actually found out his name was mentioned in the Miami New Times' report, Gonzalez said today that he found out like everyone else did, when the story was published. "Just [like] you guys did. It was posted out there and I was like, 'What's going on?' still in shock and at the end of the day, it's like I said, I've cooperated with MLB, I've done everything they've wanted. Nothing's changed from the story that I've had from when I tweeted it out. So it's been the same thing ever since."
Gonzalez is going to pitch for the US Team in the World Baseball Classic. Joe Torre called the pitcher and invited him to pitch for the United States. After the WBC, Gonzalez will begin his second season in the nation's capital. He said today he has no idea when the MLB investigation into the claims in the Miami New Times' report would end.