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Clinic records suggest Alex Rodriguez purchased HGH as recently as 2012; other players named

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Over the weekend news broke that MLB and the Drug Enforcement Administration were investigating a clinic in Miami run by Anthony Bosch, a noted friend, adviser and consultant to many baseball players.  Bosch’s clinic has long been associated with so-called anti-aging therapies and he has long been associated with PEDs.  MLB reached out to the DEA because it does not have subpoena power and is interested in getting to the bottom of Bosch’s association with ballplayers.

Now a blockbuster report from the Miami New Times, which has been given patient records by an anonymous source, suggests that A-Rod and other ballplayers were, in fact, given HGH by Bosch. In A-Rod’s case as late as last year, long after he claimed that he had ceased using PEDs:

Yet there was his name, over and over again, logged as either “Alex Rodriguez,” “Alex Rod,” or his nickname at the clinic, “Cacique,” a pre-Columbian Caribbean chief. Rodriguez’s name appears 16 times throughout the records New Times reviewed.

Take, for instance, one patient list from Bosch’s 2009 personal notebook. It charts more than 50 clients and notes whether they received their drugs by delivery or in the office, how much they paid, and what they were taking.

There, at number seven on the list, is Alex Rodriguez. He paid $3,500, Bosch notes. Below that, he writes, “1.5/1.5 HGH (sports perf.) creams test., glut., MIC, supplement, sports perf. Diet.” HGH, of course, is banned in baseball, as are testosterone creams.

The New Times details multiple other records of banned substances, under either Rodriguez’s name or under his cousin Yuri Sucart. These include HGH, IGF-1, which stimulates muscle growth and is also banned and something called “troches,” which is a lozenge which releases testosterone.  But there is evidence of more recent use as well:

The mentions of Rodriguez begin in 2009 and continue all the way through last season. Take a page in another notebook, which is labeled “2012” and looks to have been written last spring. Under the heading “A-Rod/Cacique,” Bosch writes, “He is paid through April 30th. He will owe May 1 $4,000… I need to see him between April 13-19, deliver troches, pink cream, and… May meds. Has three weeks of Sub-Q (as of April).”

The New Times describes Sub-Q as a “mixture of HGH, IGF-1, and other drugs.”

Also mentioned in the records are Melky Cabrera, Yasmani Grandal and Bartolo Colon, all of whom have tested positive for PEDs in the past year.  One additional mention — a player never before linked with PEDs — is Nelson Cruz.  Gio Gonzalez is mentioned as well, but the records seem less definitive and may be connected to his father, who is quoted in the story.

The New Times attempted to get comment from all of the athletes named in the story. None responded.  Since the report was released, both Alex Rodriguez and Gio Gonzalez have issued statements.  Rodriguez’s statement, first reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post:

“The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true. Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. Bosch’s patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in the story — at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez — are not legitimate.”

Gonzalez’s statement:

“I’ve never used performance-enhancing drugs of any kind, and I never will. I’ve never met or spoken with Tony Bosch or used any substances provided by him. Anything said to the contrary is a lie.”

Major League Baseball has also issued a statement:

“We are always extremely disappointed to learn of potential links between players and the use of performance-enhancing substances.  These developments, however, provide evidence of the comprehensive nature of our anti-drug efforts.  Through our Department of Investigations, we have been actively involved in the issues in South Florida.  It is also important to note that three of the players allegedly involved have already been disciplined under the Joint Drug Program.

“The recommendations of the Mitchell Report have once again played a critical role in Major League Baseball’s ongoing efforts against performance-enhancing drugs.  MLB implemented all of the recommendations made by Senator Mitchell in 2007, several of which emphasized the significance of installing proactive investigative services.

“The establishment of our Department of Investigations has represented a critical advance in these comprehensive efforts.  In the years since its formation, DOI’s work has proven pivotal to bringing to light information regarding the use of performance-enhancing substances.  Furthermore, DOI has built strong working relationships with federal and local law enforcement authorities.  These relationships are crucial because only law enforcement officials have the capacity to reach those outside the game who are involved in the distribution of illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

“Vigilance remains the key toward protecting the integrity of our game.  We have the best and most stringent drug testing policy in professional sports, we continue to work with our doctors and trainers to learn what they are seeing day-to-day and we educate our players about the game’s unbending zero-tolerance approach.  We remain fully committed to following all leads and seeking the appropriate outcomes for all those who use, purchase and are involved in the distribution of banned substances, which have no place in our game.

“We are in the midst of an active investigation and are gathering and reviewing information.  We will refrain from further comment until this process is complete.”

This is a major, major story.  We have the east coast BALCO on our hands here.

Keep updating HardballTalk for the latest on this story and for our own unique analysis. Including Major League Baseball’s potential recourse against the named players and the likelihood that the Yankees could sue Alex Rodriguez to void his contract, which still has $114 million remaining.

Johnny Monell signs with KBO’s KT Wiz

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 06:  Johnny Monell #19 of the New York Mets runs back to the dugout after he scored in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on July 6, 2015 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Former Mets catcher Johnny Monell signed a contract with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a report by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The 30-year-old originally struck a deal with the NC Dinos on Thursday, but the deal appeared to fall through at the last minute, according to Cotillo’s unnamed source.

Monell last surfaced for the Mets during their 2015 run, batting a dismal .167/.231/.208 with two extra bases in 52 PA before the club DFA’d him to clear space for Bartolo Colon. While he’s had difficulty sticking at the major league level, he’s found a higher degree of success in the minor league circuit and holds a career .271 average over a decade of minor league play. He played exclusively in Triple-A Las Vegas during the 2016 season, slashing .276/.336/.470 with 19 home runs and a career-high 75 RBI in 461 PA.

The veteran backstop appears to be the second MLB player to join the KT Wiz roster this offseason, as right-hander Donn Roach also signed with the club last month on a one-year, $850,000 deal.

Phil Bickford suspended 50 games for drug of abuse

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  Phil Bickford of the U.S. Team pitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at PETCO Park on July 10, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.

Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.

Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.

Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):

We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.