A report by the Miami New Times was published today, linking multiple Major League players to an anti-aging wellness clinic that was reportedly a front for supplying people with HGH and other PEDs.
Among the players named in the report: Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, Gio Gonzalez, and three players who were suspended by Major League Baseball last year (Bartolo Colon, Yasmani Grandal, and Melky Cabrera). Rodriguez is going to get the most attention, because he’s Alex Rodriguez, but the report suggests that Miami has become the new San Francisco in terms of providing PEDs to Major League players. Given the amount of players that live and train in the area during the off-season, that probably shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.
Major League Baseball has released the following statement in response to the report.
“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.”
The next question will be whether that active investigation leads to any suspensions. While players like Cruz and Gonzalez haven’t failed any drug tests, MLB has not previously tested for HGH during the season. The only testing for HGH last year occurred during spring training, so any player using HGH after testing clean in March would not have been caught under the old program. That is changing for 2013, but it remains to be seen whether or not MLB will attempt to suspend players linked to this facility without a failed drug test.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.