Biogenesis Scandal could see 20 MLB Players suspended for Steroids

alex-rodriguezIn the early 2000’s, Major League Baseball was rocked by the BALCO scandal. BALCO was busted for supplying MLB stars like Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi with performance-enhancing drugs, which fueled their careers to new heights.

Here we are now a decade later, and it looks like a modern-day BALCO scandal could be brewing with the Biogenesis clinic. 20 MLB and minor league players are accused of receiving steroids from Biogenesis, including Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon.

The MLB is currently investigating this matter and working with Biogenesis owner Tony Bosch to uncover which players have been violating baseball’s substance abuse policies. Here’s a look at the main players who are currently under investigation:

Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers
Everth Cabrera – San Diego Padres
Melky Cabrera – Toronto Blue Jays
Francisco Cervelli – New York Yankees
Bartolo Colon – Oakland Athletics
Nelson Cruz – Texas Rangers
Fautino de los Santos – Free agent
Gio Gonzalez – Washington Nationals (allegedly received legal substances)
Yasmani Grandal – San Dieog Padres
Fernando Martinez – Houston Astros
Jesus Montero – Seattle Mariners
Jordan Norberto – Free agent
Jhonny Peralta – Detroit Tigers
Cesar Puello – New York Mets (minor leaguer)
Alex Rodriguez – New York Yankees

MJS MJS brewers15, nws, sears, 6One thing that stands out about this list is how several of the players have either been busted for, or accused of using steroids in the past. Rodriguez, who’s the biggest name on the list, admitted to juicing from 2001-2003 while playing with the Rangers. Since there was no punishment in place for using steroids back then, he escaped suspension.

However, due to his past, Rodriguez would be facing the 100-game suspension for second-time offenders because he’s already been associated with roids. Colon, Cabrera and Grandal would also be in this boat because they tested positive for excessive testosterone levels in 2012. This trio was linked back to Bosch last summer, which raised suspicions among the MLB’s top brass.

ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” approached Bosch about his involvement with Colon, Cabrera and Grandal last year. And the Biogenesis founder denied any wrongdoing in the matter. However, he’s since changed his stance and has agreed to cooperate with league investigators. Sources have told Outside the Lines that Bosch’s information could supply the league with what they need to suspend certain players.

tony-boschBosch is set to meet with MLB officials this Friday to start sharing what he knows. The doctor has pledged to offer any materials and phone records he has to aid the investigation. In exchange for his cooperation, Bosch asked the league to drop a civil suit against him, to which they complied.

Furthermore, he wants the MLB to vouch for his cooperation to federal investigators. Of course, baseball officials can’t promise that Bosch won’t suffer any legal consequences for his actions. However, working with Major League Baseball should definitely help minimize any criminal sentence.

It’s doubtful that Tony Bosch has many options left but to work with the MLB. Biogenesis was served with a cease-and-desist letter last year by the Florida Department of Health. Since his business can no longer operate, Bosch is said to be nearly broke and living with family and friends. He’s also failed to convince the Department of Health to let him reestablish a “wellness” clinic.

Working with Bosch is definitely in the MLB’s interests too. Without him, Major League Baseball merely has circumstantial evidence on the listed players. Sure there are some intriguing documents in the league’s possession, like one that has Braun making payments of $1,500, $20,000 and $30,000 to Biogenesis. However, Bosch can actually provide legitimate testimony on what these payments were for.

The case should definitely make some huge advancements this weekend as Bosch begins sharing information. And the way it looks now, he has plenty of dirt on some very high-profile major leaguers.

David Ortiz accused of Steroids

david-ortizUp until this week, David Ortiz was off to a red-hot start as he was hitting well over .400 and averaging an RBI a game. The Boston Red Sox slugger has since fallen off this pace (.338 BA), but that hasn’t stopped one columnist from accusing him of steroids.

Dan Shaughnessy, who writes for the Boston Globe, actually approached Ortiz in the Red Sox clubhouse to level steroid accusations. The 6’4″, 230-pound DH wasn’t having it though as he said, “They test me all the time. They make you pee and they test your blood, too. This year I would say I’ve probably been tested five times, peeing. Blood, just once. That was in spring training. They don’t warn you. They just show up.’’

Ortiz continued by saying, “In 2009, I was coming back from a hand injury (left wrist). I injured my hand, badly. I tried to come back, but I wasn’t the same. It carried over until my hand started feeling better. I got bad habits from that.” He added, “Once I started feeling better, I went back to be who I was. It wasn’t any different. I went back to hitting homers like I was doing before that. It wasn’t like I started hitting homers after I figured it out in ’09.”

Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox, Game 3The reasons for Shaughnessy’s bold steroid witch hunt are many, but none are overwhelmingly telling. First off, he brings up a bad season from 2009, when Ortiz hit .238. But since that time, he has never batted below .270, with two full seasons where he hit .309 and .318.

Another point that the Boston Globe columnist brings up is the fact that Ortiz is 37. Now this might seem like a valid argument for pulling out the steroid torches and chasing after the 16-year MLB veteran. But then again, Ortiz explained that he had a wrist injury several years ago, which hampered his play in 2009. Furthermore, he hit well at age 34, 35 and 36, so is he really expected to experience that big of a decline by age 37?

david-ortiz-2By far the most far-out allegation that Shaughnessy leveled is the idea that Ortiz is juicing simply because he’s Dominican. The writer’s basis is that a number of other Dominicans have been busted for roids, so this must automatically mean that Big Papi is also juicing then, huh?

Not surprisingly, this set Ortiz off the most as he vented when talking to Grandes en los Deportes. “You mean that in Dominican Republic there are no players who try to do things right,” said Ortiz. “We are all in the same boat. And the people here who have been caught, does that put everyone here in the same boat?”

Perhaps Shaughnessy will be happy now because ever since he grilled Ortiz about steroids, the Red Sox star has hit 1-for-16 with four strikeouts. Does this mean he suddenly put his vials and syringes up for the season once confronted by Shaughnessy?

In reality, David Ortiz’s hitting streaks are just representative of baseball. Now if he were suddenly on pace to hit 70 home runs – when he hasn’t hit more than 35 in the past seven years – that would be a different story.

But a proven hitter who starts out with an above .400 batting average in his first 15 games…well, this by no means indicates a guy who’s in the midst of a steroid cycle. And it especially doesn’t give Shaughnessy the green light to accuse somebody of using steroids just because they’re Dominican and played badly four years ago.