On Tuesday, a week and a day after Miami New Times published online a report describing hundreds of pages of records from the office of a Coral Gables clinic, Biogenesis, the first professional baseball players have acknowledged involvement with owner Anthony Bosch.
In statements issued Tuesday to Yahoo! Sports, two current MLB players, including former University of Miami star Ryan Braun, admitted ties to Bosch. New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, whose teammate Alex Rodriguez was the biggest name in the records, described his relationship with the clinic thusly: "Following my foot injury in March 2011, I consulted with a number of experts, including Biogenesis clinic, for legal ways to aid my rehab and recovery. I purchased supplements that I am certain were not prohibited by MLB.''
Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun made a similar admission. In 2012, he was suspended for violating baseball's PED policy but was later cleared of the charges. "During the course of preparing for my successful appeal last year, my attorneys, who were previously familiar with Tony Bosch, used him as a consultant," Braun said. "More specifically, he answered questions about [testosterone-to-epitestosterone] ratio and possibilities of tampering with samples." Bruan added, "I have nothing to hide and have never had any other relationship with Bosch."
Yahoo!'s story raises an obvious question. If Braun's and Cervelli's names appear in the Bosch records at the heart of New Times' investigation -- and indeed, Yahoo!'s report does appear to match New Times' records -- why didn't we report them in our first story?
Simple: an abundance of caution.
As Yahoo! notes, the records do not clearly associate either Braun, Cervelli, or a third player who this morning denied all ties with Bosch (Orioles third baseman Danny Valencia) with use of supplements. Yahoo! apparently obtained copies of just these page of Bosch's notebooks independently of New Times.
Today's admissions are significant for several reasons. First, because until today, all players named in the records -- including Rodriguez, Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez, and even Bosch himself -- had denied New Times' report. And second, because Braun is -- according to Yahoo! -- a former roommate of minor-league pitcher Cesar Carrillo, who was also named in our report; Yahoo! also reports that Braun trained with Jimmy Goins, the UM strength and conditioning coach named in our investigation.
Even before the story was published, Major League Baseball took New Times managing editor Tim Elfrink's investigation seriously. On Monday, two of the league's top officials -- Pat Courtney, senior vice president of public relations, and Rob Manfred, executive vice president of economics and league affairs -- visited New Times' offices to request that we turn over the records.
Last year, Manfred -- a charming bulldog with an upstate New York accent -- issued a statement saying he "vehemently" disagreed with a decision absolving Braun. "We are pursuing this investigation aggressively," he told us this week. "These records have great potential."
Here's the truth: We haven't yet decided what to do with the records from Tony Bosch's clinic. We've shared many of them already, posting them online last week after carefully redacting the names of people we didn't think were well enough confirmed or sufficiently newsworthy.
The question of whether to release the records is thorny, and there are few precedents. They were given to us by a source who requested anonymity. We will not divulge that person's name. We take this responsibility very seriously.
Moreover, reporters are not law enforcement. Nor do we discipline anybody for anything. Our job is to lay out the facts transparently and let the public -- and responsible parties -- decide whether action is needed.
Of course, we do want justice. And as a parent of three kids who play sports, I want badly to discourage use of these drugs that endanger people's health.
Major League Baseball is the only body that can sanction players involved with performance-enhancing drugs. Though the league passed tough new testing standards, which will take effect this year, it has proven at times ineffective at disciplining players for drug use. Only a handful of players -- including San Francisco Giants star Melky Cabrera, who was named in our report -- have been suspended for PEDs. Even Alex Rodriguez, who publicly admitted use of steroids a decade ago, hasn't been disciplined.
We will decide in the next few weeks what to do with the trove of records. We will do the right thing.
Managing editor Tim Elfrink contributed to this report.
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