As SI.com's Tom Verducci wrote tonight, after two more names were tied to the growing PED scandal surrounding a Miami New Times' report on a Miami area clinic and their ties to major league players, there are two major threads which have developed a week after the initial report suggesting the clinic supplied performance-enhancing drugs to pro athletes.
A New York Daily News' report this afternoon, by Bill Madden, Teri Thompson and Michael O’keeffe, added Jesus Montero to the list of major league players whose names appear in the notes of Biogenesis clinic chief Anthony Bosch. Mr. Bosch's notebooks, acquired in a cache of documents given to the Miami New Times, are being used to connect a dozen MLB players to the clinic in a growing PED scandal which the Miami New Times' Tim Elfrink first reported on last week. The NY Daily News reported that the 23-year-old former Yankees' prospect, who was traded to Seattle last January, was mentioned in Mr. Bosch's notes, connecting him to the Coral Gables, Florida-based anti-aging company that allegedly provided performance-enhancing drugs to professional athletes, though Montero reportedly is not tied to any specific PEDs in the notes.
As the Daily News' report notes, Montero is another client of agents Seth and Sam Levinson (ACES), who, "... have been under investigation by MLB since last summer, after another client, former Yankee Melky Cabrera, tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone." A comical series of events (which included creating a fake website for a fake supplement to be blamed for Cabrera's positive results) followed the then-San Francisco Giants' outfielder's failed drug test. A former employee of the Levinsons, Juan Nunez, claimed responsibility for "the botched supplement scheme" (as the NY Daily News described it) with Cabrera. Nunez's name is another that surfaced in the Miami New Times' report in connection to the Biogenesis clinic since he appears in Mr. Bosch's notes.
Several of the players mentioned in the Miami New Times' report, including Washington Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez, have denied any connection to Mr. Bosch or the Biogenesis clinic. A New York Times' article last week by Steve Eder, Lizette Alvarez and Michael S. Schmidt reported that MLB investigators, whose suspicions, "... have been stoked in recent days by several denials from players who said they never had direct contact with Bosch," had come to, "... believe that many of the players never met face to face with Bosch [at the clinic], receiving substances instead through intermediaries, according to two baseball officials briefed on the matter." In the course of their investigation, the MLB investigators had, "... uncovered evidence that an employee [Mr. Nunez] for the player agents Sam and Seth Levinson was one of those intermediaries."
The New York Times' article noted that Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez and Texas Rangers' slugger Nelson Cruz, whose name also appears in Mr. Bosch's notes according to the Miami New Times' report, were all clients of Sam and Seth Levinson (ACES). Montero was the fourth client of the Levinsons mentioned in the notes of the Biogenesis clinic's chief. Late this afternoon, Detroit Tigers' infielder Jhonny Peralta became the fifth. SI.com's Tom Verducci, quoting "sources familiar with the records" from the Biogenesis clinic, reported Wednesday night that Peralta was identified as the 12th major league player mentioned in Mr. Bosch's notes. As was the case with Jesus Montero and Ryan Braun, whose name came out last night in a Yahoo!Sports.com report, Peralta is not tied to any specific PEDs in the clinic's notes.
With five of the 12 players allegedly included in Mr. Bosch's notes clients of ACES, Seth Levinson made the decision to release a public statement tonight which was posted by the Seattle Times' Larry Stone:
"Anyone who knows us, knows that it is absolutely ridiculous to think that we would ever condone the use of performance enhancing drugs. Our work over the last 25 years demonstrates that ACES is built on a foundation of honesty, integrity, and doing things the right way. Neither Sam nor I, or anyone else at ACES, have ever met or even heard of Anthony Bosch until the recent news stories, nor does anyone have any knowledge of or connection to Biogenesis. Moreover, Juan Nunez ceased doing work on behalf of the agency as soon as his involvement in the Melky Cabrera matter came to light. The MLBPA's investigation into that matter found that we had no involvement in or knowledge of any wrongdoing. Similarly, in this case, we are not involved and do not have any knowledge as to what took place or who was allegedly involved."
Jesus Montero denied any connection to the Biogenesis clinic according to reporters, including the Seattle Times' Geoff Baker:
Jesus Montero told me he has "no idea" how his name got in documents from South Florida clinic. Says never a client, never bought anything— Geoff Baker (@gbakermariners) February 6, 2013
As SI.com's Mr. Verducci notes in his report on Jhonny Peralta tonight, the connection to the Levinsons and ACES is one of two major "threads" to come out of the Miami New Times' initial report. The Miami New Times' article which broke this story, listed seven players (Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez, Cesar Carrillo, Yasmani Grandal and Bartolo Colon) who were mentioned in Mr. Bosch's notes. A Yahoo!Sports.com report by Jeff Passan last night added Ryan Braun, Francisco Cervelli and Danny Valencia to the list. Montero and Peralta make 12 players total.
Of the twelve, Mr. Verducci notes, four (Braun, Valencia, Grandal and Carillo) played for the University of Miami and thus have ties to strength-and-conditioning coach Jimmy Goins, whose name came up in the Biogenesis records as well. Gio Gonzalez, who trained with Goins, and Alex Rodriguez, who, Mr. Verducci points out, is, "... a major benefactor to the Hurricanes baseball program whose name is attached to the Miami baseball stadium," also have connections to the university. Mr. Goins, through his attorney, has denied any wrongdoing and claimed any connection to the clinic was "coincidental."
After last night's Yahoo!Sports.com report was published, Braun, whose name was not mentioned in connection to any PEDs in the notes, issued a statement claiming he and his lawyers had employed Mr. Bosch as a "consultant" during his appeal of a positive test for testosterone after the 2011 campaign. Francisco Cervelli issued a statement saying he had dealt with the clinic while rehabbing a foot injury and had purchased supplements which he was, "... certain were not prohibited by MLB." Danny Valencia denied any connection to Biogenesis.
Miami New Times' editor Chuck Strouse addressed the revelations of the past week since the original article on Mr. Bosch and the Biogenesis clinic was published in a follow-up tonight in which he also explained the decision to leave some of the names (Braun, Cervelli and Valencia) out of the initial report. The decision the Miami New Times made to leave some names out initially because they weren't tied to any specific PEDs in the records from the anti-aging clinic, Mr. Strouse said, was made out of an "abundance of caution":
"As Yahoo! notes, the records do not clearly associate either Braun, Cervelli, or a third player who this morning denied all ties with Bosch (Orioles third baseman Danny Valencia) with use of supplements. Yahoo! apparently obtained copies of just these page of Bosch's notebooks independently of New Times."
The Miami New Times' editor then addressed why he believes the admissions of a connection to the Biogenesis clinic and Mr. Bosch by Braun and Cervelli were of significance:
"Today's admissions are significant for several reasons. First, because until today, all players named in the records -- including Rodriguez, Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez, and even Bosch himself -- had denied New Times' report. And second, because Braun is -- according to Yahoo! -- a former roommate of minor-league pitcher Cesar Carillo, who was also named in our report; Yahoo! also reports that Braun trained with Jimmy Goins, the UM strength and conditioning coach named in our investigation."
Major League Baseball, Mr. Strouse notes, was taking the Miami New Times' report seriously from the start, even before the Yahoo!Sports.com article added to the story. MLB officials visited the offices of the Miami New Times this week and asked for access to the files upon which the original report was based. As Mr. Strouse explains, however, the paper hasn't yet decided whether or not to turn over the records, which as the original report noted, consist of, "... patient files, the payment records, and the handwritten notebooks kept by [Mr. Bosch]," which were corroborated through interviews with former customers and employees. Mr. Strouse ends by saying they are weighing the decision to turn over the records:
"We will decide in the next few weeks what to do with the trove of records. We will do the right thing."
• (ed. note - "For anyone who hasn't been following along closely in the last two weeks, we've compiled all of the information from the time the Miami New Times' initial report was published that has anything to do with the Nationals' Gio Gonzalez. We republished it all yesterday. You can catch up through the link included below."):
New Names Surface In Investigation Into Miami New Times' Report On Alleged PED Clinic In Florida... sbn.to/UX5V7l— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) February 6, 2013