Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Report links A-Rod, Gio Gonzalez to performance-enhancing drugs
As spring training dawned in 2009, Alex Rodriguez faced the cameras and confessed to his use of performance-enhancing substances from 2001 to 2003.
“My mistake … I was immature and I was stupid,” he said then.
Yet that very same year, the New York Yankees star was supplied with performance-enhancing drugs, according to a report posted Tuesday by Miami New Times. The newspaper cited 16 records from a now-closed Florida clinic that indicated Rodriguez was provided with human growth hormone and other substances as recently as last year.
The report also linked Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez, Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon and San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal to the clinic.
Cabrera, Colon and Grandal all were issued suspensions by Major League Baseball last year after failing drug tests. The other players, including Rodriguez, are at risk of suspension following an ongoing MLB investigation. Under the league’s drug policy, a positive test is not the only evidence that can warrant a suspension.
Rodriguez retained Sitrick and Co., a Los Angeles-based crisis management firm, which issued a statement on his behalf dismissing the New Times reporting on Rodriguez as “not true” and the clinic records as “not legitimate.” A spokesman told reporters Rodriguez denies using any performance-enhancing drugs during the 2009-12 period covered in the New Times report.
Gonzalez took to Twitter with a denial that read in part: “I've never used performance enhancing drugs of any kind and I never will.”
In a statement, MLB said it was “extremely disappointed to learn of potential links between players and the use of performance-enhancing substances” but was “in the midst of an active investigation.” MLB investigators already had traced a link between the rise in positive drug tests last season and supplies from South Florida, according to reports last week on ESPN and in the New York Daily News.
Rodriguez, 37, underwent hip surgery this month and is expected to miss at least the first half of the coming season. His slugging percentage has declined for five consecutive seasons, and the Yankees owe him a guaranteed $118 million on a contract that extends through 2017.