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Documentary reportedly links Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman, others to PED claims

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According to a Huffington Post report, an investigative documentary by Al Jazeera, which is scheduled to air tonight, features claims by a pharmacist, who has since recanted his statements, who linked Washington Nationals' first baseman Ryan Zimmerman to PEDs.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

In an article on an upcoming documentary from "Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit", The Huffington Post's Ryan Grimm and Travis Waldron wrote Saturday night that the report, entitled, "'The Dark Side", "... is the result of a monthslong investigation in which Liam Collins, a British hurdler, went undercover in an attempt to expose the widespread nature of performance-enhancing drugs in global sports."

The Al Jazeera report is scheduled to air tonight, but the Huffington Post writers were able to view it in advance of its airing.

According to the article, as part of the investigation, "Collins connected with Charlie Sly, a pharmacist based in Austin, Texas, who worked at the Guyer Institute, the Indiana-based anti-aging clinic, in 2011."

Sly says in recorded conversations that he was, "part of a medical team that helped [Peyton Manning] recover' from neck surgery in 2011," and, "Sly alleges that the clinic mailed growth hormone and other drugs to Manning’s wife."

Manning denied the claims.

Collins connected with Sly and also a naturopathic physician and another pharmacist who devised individual drug programs for the hurdler.

"[Sly] preached the effectiveness of Delta-2," according to the report, "a hormone supplement that is 'steroidal in nature' but is not an anabolic steroid, according to online product descriptions."

He also alleged "that a bunch of football players... and a bunch of baseball players," took the hormone supplement.

Sly reportedly names a number of NFL players as clients and, "... also names Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and Washington Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman as players who received the drug from him."

Zimmerman, according to the Huffington Post report, "denied using the drugs to the [Al Jazeera] network."

The report goes on to say that, "Sly, when pressed by Al Jazeera, backtracked, saying that his claims about supplying the drugs to athletes were 'false and incorrect.'"

Sly filmed a video himself, included in the Huffington Post article in which he says that, ".... the statements on any recordings or communications that Al Jazeera plans to air are absolutely false and incorrect."

"To be clear," Sly adds, "I am recanting any such statements and there is no truth to any statement of mine that Al Jazeera plans to air.

"Under no circumstances should any of those statements, recordings or communications be aired."

In a statement made to MLBTraderumors.com, William Burck, of Quinn Emanuel, the attorney for Zimmerman and Howard, says it is, "inexcusable and irresponsible that Al Jazeera would provide a platform and broadcast outright lies about Mr. Howard and Mr. Zimmerman.":

"The extraordinarily reckless claims made against our clients in this report are completely false and rely on a source who has already recanted his claims. We will go to court to hold Al Jazeera and other responsible parties accountable for smearing our clients’ good names."

Zimmerman talked to reporters earlier this month about the frustration of missing significant time with injuries in the last few seasons.

Zimmerman, 31, played in just 95 games in 2015, putting up a .249/.308/.465 line over 390 plate appearances, landing on the DL twice while dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot and an oblique injury late in the year.

He was limited to just 61 games in 2014 when he suffered a fractured left thumb and a Grade 3 hamstring strain.

Zimmerman missed time with an abdominal strain in 2011 and dealt with shoulder pain throughout the 2012 season.

He took cortisone shots at several points to get him through the 2012 campaign, then underwent surgery to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder that Fall, following the Nationals' first postseason run since baseball returned to D.C. in '05.

"The last two, three years have been frustrating for me," Zimmerman said recently, at Nationals WinterFest.

"Nobody wants to be on the field more than I want to be on the field. Unfortunately, some of those things happen. It's not only the amount of work you put in, sometimes it's... some of it is bad luck, some of it is just -- it's hard to go 10-15 years without getting hurt.

"Unfortunately for me it's happened two or three years in a row, but the goal this year is to stay on the field and see what I can do with 145-150 games."

UPDATED (12/28/15; 3:40 PM) - The Nationals issued the following statement on the Al Jazeera investigative report: