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.

Noah Syndergaard: ‘I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency’

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Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.

While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.

Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.

Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”

Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.

If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.