Though there were "revelations" Tuesday regarding the Miami New Times' investigation and Miami New Times' writer Tim Elfrink's article on Anthony Bosch and the Biogenesis clinic in Coral Gables, Florida which allegedly provided performance-enhancing drugs to several major league players, there was nothing new on Washington Nationals' left-hander Gio Gonzalez's alleged involvement with the anti-aging clinic or its owner, whose notebooks reportedly contain the names of pro athletes, including the Nats' starter, who allegedly received supplements from the clinic. Allegedly.
Gio Gonzalez, in his only public comments on the matter, denied any involvement with PEDs, the Biogenesis clinic or its owner in a statement released on his own (verified) Twitter account a short time after the Miami New Times' story was published last week. The 27-year-old starter's father admitted in the original Miami New Times' article to consulting with Mr. Bosch, while denying that his son had anything to do with the clinic or Mr. Bosch.
• LINK: For anyone who hasn't been following closely, the latest update on all the "evidence" of Gio Gonzalez's alleged involvement with the Biogenesis clinic and its owner is reposted below and linked HERE.
The Miami New Times' original story about the Biogenesis clinic, published last week, was based on their examination of, "... patient files, the payment records, and the handwritten notebooks kept by [Mr. Bosch]." The cache of records were reportedly given to the free weekly publication by a former Biogenesis employee.
The Miami New Times' Mr. Elfrink, editor Chuck Strouse and their reporters examined the materials they were given and conducted, "Interviews with six customers and two former employees," who corroborated, "the tale told by the patient files, the payment records, and the handwritten notebooks kept by the clinic's chief [Mr. Bosch]," as Mr. Elfrink wrote.
According to a report by the Washington Post's James Wagner Tuesday night, Mr. Strouse told the WaPost reporter, "MLB officials were in the newspaper’s office on Monday seeking the documents cited in last week’s report." The paper's editor told the WaPost's Mr. Wagner that the Miami New Times had not yet decided whether or not to hand over the materials used in the original report, while also noting that Major League Baseball does not have subpoena power.
New York Times' writers Steve Eder, Lizette Alvarez and Michael S. Schmidt noted in an article on the clinic and the Miami New Times' article last week, that, "Without more substantial evidence," than they already have as a result of their own and the Miami New Times' investigations, MLB officials, "... are limited in their actions."
CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman and Matt Snyder wrote last week that Major League Baseball planned to speak to all the players named in the clinic notes and the Miami New Times' report, but as the CBSSports.com reporters noted, "MLB officials believe they have one shot at all involved and want to make sure they have a sure thing before going after anyone specifically. The league seeks definitive proof before going after anyone, which will be difficult to obtain."
Now Yahoo!Sports.com's reporters too were able to examine the Biogenesis clinic's records and in a report tonight by Jeff Passan, they added Ryan Braun's name to the list of Major League players mentioned in the notebooks of the clinic's chief, Mr. Bosch. Braun, of course, has been the subject of an investigation involving performance- enhancing drugs before, when he reportedly tested positive for high levels of testosterone in 2011 only to win an acquittal and avoid a suspension.
The Yahoo!Sports.com report tonight was sure to note that though Braun's name appeared in the records, it was not tied (as some other's names were according to the Miami New Times) to any of the PEDs mentioned in the notes:
"Three of the Biogenesis clinic records obtained by Yahoo! Sports show Braun's name. Unlike the players named by the Miami New Times in its report that blew open the Biogenesis case, Braun's name is not listed next to any specific PEDs. Braun said his attorneys retained the clinic's operator, Anthony Bosch, as a consultant during his appeal for the positive test."
26-year-old New York Yankees' catcher Francisco Cervelli's name was another published by Yahoo!Sports.com's Mr. Passan tonight along with Baltimore Orioles' infielder Danny Valencia's. In statements released after their names were added to the list of those mentioned in the clinic's records along with Braun, Cervellis' teammate Alex Rodriguez, the Nats' Gonzalez, the Padres' Yasmani Grandal, the Blue Jays' Melky Cabrera, Rangers' Nelson Cruz and Tigers' minor leaguer Cesar Carillo, both Cervelli and Valencia made public statements denying having received PEDs from the Biogenesis clinic:
• Francisco Cervelli's statement:
"'Following my foot injury in March 2011, I consulted with a number of experts, including Biogenesis clinic, for legal ways to aid my rehab and recovery. I purchased supplements that I am certain were not prohibited by MLB.'"
• Danny Valencia's statement:
"'I am shocked and troubled that my name is in any way connected to this story. I have never met or spoken to anyone connected with Biogenesis.'"
The Yahoo!Sports.com report includes an image taken from Mr. Bosch's notebooks which lists the names of six of the players mentioned above, minus Gio Gonzalez's name, Nelson Cruz's or Cesar Carrillo's.
Yahoo!Sports.com's Mr. Passan writes in tonight's article that the early part of MLB's investigation in Florida is centered around several of the players mentioned in the Miami New Times' article who have a connection to the University of Miami and strength-and-conditioning coach Jimmy Goins, whose name appeared in the original report as well. Mr. Goins has worked with Braun, Carillo, Gonzalez and Grandal. Mr. Goins, through his attorney, has denied any wrongdoing, though a Miami Herald report quoted a source saying he did receive treatment at the clinic run by Mr. Bosch, which has sinced ceased operations.
It doesn't appear that this story is going to go away any time soon...
• BELOW: Our previous reports on Gio Gonzalez's name being mentioned in the Miami New Times' report:
• From 2/2 Report: Guilt by association. Guilty until proven innocent. It's been a rough week for baseball fans in the nation's capital, who have been left to wonder for several days (and might be wondering for a while now) what to think of the fact that Washington Nationals' left-hander Gio Gonzalez was one of seven major leaguers (along with Nelson Cruz, Alex Rodriguez, Bartolo Colon, Yasmani Grandal, Melky Cabrera and Cesar Carrillo) whose names were included in an explosive Miami New Times' article by Tim Elfrink which connected the MLB players to Anthony Bosch, the owner of an anti-aging clinic in Florida called "Biogenesis" which is suspected of, "... selling performance-enhancing drugs, from human growth hormone (HGH) to testosterone to anabolic steroids," to professional athletes.
• LINK: Tuesday - Gio Gonzalez Mentioned In Miami New Times' Report
Gonzalez, 27, whose father admitted in the article to having dealt with Mr. Bosch, but denied any involvement on his son's behalf, claimed on Twitter that he's never taken PEDs or even met with the Mr. Bosch, whose personal notebooks implicated the lefty according to this week's report. In an appearance on the MLB Network, Miami New Times' editor Chuck Strouse stated that the records they have, in his words, "... show, or seem to show that some performance-enhancing drugs were delivered to [Gonzalez]."
The Miami New Times' report is based on, "... patient files, the payment records, and the handwritten notebooks kept by [Mr. Bosch]," which were given to them by a former clinic employee. The paper's reporters, as they wrote in the article, conducted, "Interviews with six customers and two former employees," who corroborated, "the tale told by the patient files, the payment records, and the handwritten notebooks kept by the clinic's chief." In a follow-up article which published images from Mr. Bosch's personal notebooks, Gonzalez's name appears on several pages, listed alongside his father's and at other times alone, in one instance on the same page as a forumla for a "pink cream" described elsewhere in the report as, "... a complex formula that also includes testosterone."
• LINK: Wednesday - Images: Gio Gonzalez's name in Tony Bosch's Notebooks
Though Gonzalez has never failed a drug test and though none of the other substances mentioned in connection to him in the article are believed to be substances banned by Major League Baseball, Gonzalez's name appears alongside others in the article who failed drug tests and were suspended this past season (Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, Yasmani Grandal) and one who has admitted to having used PEDs earlier in his career (Alex Rodriguez). Gonzalez also has a connection, as the Washington Post's James Wagner and The Washington Times' Amanda Comak noted this week, to, "Jimmy Goins, the strength and conditioning coach for the [Miami] Hurricanes baseball team for the past nine seasons," whose name also turned up in Tuesday's Miami New Times' report:
"Goins is recorded in multiple client lists; in one detailed page dated December 14, 2011, Bosch writes he's selling him Anavar, testosterone, and a Winstrol/B-12 mix and charging him $400 a month. Another, from this past December, includes sales of HGH and testosterone."
Gonzalez had previously posted a photo via Instagram of himself with Mr. Goins, described in the caption as his, "offseason strength coach," which was then linked in every article on the subject and suddenly seen in a different light after the two were mentioned in the Miami New Times' article. Bad optics. Mr. Goins, through his attorney, denied any any wrongdoing or connection to Mr. Bosch and the Biogenesis clinic as quoted in a Florida Sun-Sentinel article by author Michael Casagrande:
"He hasn't done anything wrong either personally or as a representative of the University of Miami," said [Gordon] Fenderson, an attorney specializing in DUI defense with offices in Jacksonville and Coral Gables. "And as far as being on a client list of a certain doctor, any connection of the University of Miami or their baseball program would be purely coincidental."
• LINK (w/ a h/t to @NationalsReview): "Ex-Miami Hurricanes player says Jimmy Goins will be cleared in PED scandal" - Clark Spencer, Susan Miller Degnan and Barry Jackson, Miami Herald
Mr. Bosch too denied the allegations in the article and specifically any connection to, "MLB players such as Alex Rodriguez or Gio Gonzalez," in a statement included in a follow-up article by the Miami New Times' Mr. Elfrink earlier this week:
"The Miami New Times Story dated January 29, 2013 is filled with inaccuracies, innuendo and misstatements of fact. Mr. Bosch vehemently denies the assertions that MLB players such as Alex Rodriguez and Gio Gonzalez were treated by or associated with him."
The Law Office Of Susy Ribero-Ayala, P.A.
Major League Baseball has launched an investigation into the claims made in the Miami New Times' article as they announced the morning it was published this past Tuesday. The Nationals' lone comment on the matter came from D.C. GM Mike Rizzo, who released a statement which said simply, "The issue is currently being reviewed by Major League Baseball and it would be inappropriate for the Nationals to comment until that review is completed."
A Yahoo!Sports.com report by Jeff Passan on Wednesday said MLB representatives planned to travel to Florida to talk to the Miami New Times about releasing the records upon which the story is based and his sources told Mr. Passan Major League Baseball would eventually interview all of the players named in the article as well:
"If the newspaper does release the records to the league, not only could it bolster MLB's case when arguing for potential 50-game suspensions for Rodriguez, Cruz and Gonzalez, it could provide an ever greater look at the scope of Biogenesis owner and alleged peddler Anthony Bosch's operation – and add more names beyond the sullied six."
A New York Times' report on Friday by Steve Eder, Lizette Alvarez and Michael S. Schmidt said Major League Baseball was busy trying to, "... penetrate the often opaque world of anti-aging clinics," in and around Miami, Florida including another "Revive Miami" in which Mr. Bosch was once a partner. A source the NY Times speaks to in the article, Xavier Romero, is a former patient and investor in Revive Miami with Mr. Bosch who said the latter's role in the business was to, "... use his contacts to get the prescriptions necessary to fuel the business, although it remains unclear how he obtained chemicals like human growth hormone." Both clinics have since closed.
Elswehere in this weekend's New York Times' report they discuss how baseball officials were initially led to look at some of the clinics in Florida after discovering that Melky Cabrera and an employee of "player agents Sam and Seth Levinson," reportedly participated in a "plot" to help Cabrera, "... hatch a cover-up scheme to avoid being suspended for testing positive for elevated testosterone," last season. The employee, the writers note, was believed to be one of several intermediaries (they use the plural) who actually met with Mr. Bosch rather than having the players visit the offices of "Biogenesis":
"Major League Baseball investigators believe that many of the players never met face to face with Bosch there, receiving substances instead through intermediaries, according to two baseball officials briefed on the matter. The investigators’ suspicions have been stoked in recent days by several denials from players who said they never had direct contact with Bosch."
Gio Gonzalez, the NY Times' report notes, is a client of the Levinsons along with Melky Cabrera and Nelson Cruz.
What all of this "evidence" involving Gonzalez amounts to is unclear. As the New York Times' reporters write in the article, "Without more substantial evidence," MLB officials, "... are limited in their actions." They will likely speak to the MLB players involved in the near future, but according to a CBSSports.com report by Matt Snyder and Jon Heyman this weekend, they won't do so until they've done their own investigation:
"MLB officials believe they have one shot at all involved and want to make sure they have a sure thing before going after anyone specifically. The league seeks definitive proof before going after anyone, which will be difficult to obtain."
Meanwhile, Gonzalez, the first left-hander from the nation's capital to win 20 games or more since Earl Whitehill in 1933, remains under a cloud of suspicion. The Nationals, according to a report this past Thursday published by CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler, are concerned enough about a potential suspension that they're considering their options should they lose Gonzalez at any point in 2013:
"The Nationals and Rangers aren't talking publicly, at least not until MLB's investigation is complete and any penalties are handed out. But people familiar with both teams say they are very concerned that they could lose Gonzalez and/or Cruz to a 50-game suspension, and have begun discussing what to do about it."
Would the Nats consider making another move for a starter, Mr. Knobler asks, since the depth in terms of major league-ready starters in the organization was already a concern for a team that's considered a World Series contender? The problem for the Nationals and for the players whose names came out in the report is that there's no telling when the investigation into the matter will conclude.