MLB Reportedly Seeking to Suspend Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and Up to 20 Others

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 4, 2013

Major League Baseball is reportedly preparing to take an unprecedented stand against performance-enhancing drugs.

According to ESPN's John Buccigross, the network's Outside the Lines program has learned MLB is preparing to suspend Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and others involved with the Biogenesis scandal:

UPDATE: Saturday, June 22, at 9:55 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal provided new details on the ongoing Biogenesis scandal:

When major leaguers test positive for performance-enhancing drugs, their suspensions are not announced until after their appeals are heard.

Players facing suspension in baseball’s Biogenesis scandal, however, will not necessarily receive the same level of confidentiality, according to major-league sources.

Baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement enables the sport to announce suspensions for “just cause” before the appeals process begins — if the allegations against the players previously had been made public by outside sources.


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UPDATE: Friday, June 7, at 9:38 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

According to ESPN reporters Mike Fish and T.J. Quinn, MLB and Anthony Bosch have reached an agreement:

Major League Baseball has secured a cooperative agreement with Tony Bosch, the founder of the Miami-area clinic at the center of an ongoing performance-enhance drug scandal, but the attorney for another key potential witness Friday accused baseball of "bullying" his client.

The attorney for Carlos Acevedo, who along with Bosch and three others was named in a civil suit brought by baseball in March, told "Outside the Lines" he has filed a motion to have his client dismissed from the suit. Martin Beguiristain expects his motion to be heard Wednesday in a Miami-Dade County circuit court.


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UPDATE: Thursday, June 6, at 7:33 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

The Associated Press (via ESPN) reports that MLB has subpoenaed companies in an effort to bolster their current PED investigation:

Major League Baseball's lawyers have issued subpoenas to Federal Express, AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile USA in an attempt to gain records for its investigation of players suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs.

The subpoenas were issued May 23, according to a case file in Florida's Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, where MLB sued Biogenesis of America, anti-aging clinic head Anthony Bosch and five others in March.

MLB asked Federal Express to turn over shipment records for Biogenesis, Bosch, the other defendants and a long list of individuals who appeared to be affiliated with Bosch.

MLB asked the phone companies for call records, texts and subscriber info for the phones of Juan Carlos Nunez, an associate of outfielder Melky Cabrera who was banned from big league clubhouses last year, and Porter Fischer, who was affiliated with the now-closed anti-aging clinic.


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UPDATE: Thursday, June 6, at 12:45 a.m. ET by Ian Hanford

According to New York Daily News reporters Teri Thompson, Bill Madden, Christian Red and Michael O'Keeffe, Anthony Bosch approached MLB after Alex Rodriguez refused to pay him:

The owner of the South Florida anti-aging clinic at the center of baseball’s latest doping scandal asked embattled Yankee star Alex Rodriguez for financial help after Major League Baseball filed a lawsuit that alleged he had sold performance-enhancing drugs to Major League Baseball players.

When Rodriguez rebuffed Anthony Bosch’s request for money, believed to be in the hundreds of thousands, the self-styled “biochemist” turned to a strange bedfellow — MLB.

“A-Rod refused to pay him what he wanted,” said a source. “Baseball was worried about that.”

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UPDATE: Wednesday, June 5, at 11:10 a.m. ET by Tom Kinslow

The Major League Baseball Players Association has released a statement about ESPN's explosive report in an effort to set the facts straight about the process going forward.

The Players Association has been in regular contact with the Commissioner's Office regarding the Biogenesis investigation. They are in the process of interviewing players, and every player has been or will be represented by an attorney from the Players Association. The Commissioner's Office has assured us that no decisions regarding discipline have been made or will be made until those interviews are completed. It would be unfortunate if anyone prejudged those investigations.

The Players Association has every interest in both defending the rights of players and in defending the integrity of our joint program. We trust that the Commissioner's Office shares these interests.

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UPDATE: Wednesday, June 5, at 9:00 a.m. ET by Brandon Galvin

Ryan Braun spoke out on the situation following last night's game, according to Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel's Todd Rosiak:

"I assume I know why everybody's here," he said. "I've already addressed everything related to the Miami situation. I addressed it in spring training. I will not make any further statements about it. The truth has not changed."

"I don't know the specifics of the story that came out today. I've already addressed it, I've already commented on it and I'll say nothing further about it. I hope that you guys can respect that."

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UPDATE: Wednesday, June 5, at 2:15 a.m. ET by Ian Hanford

According to T.J. Quinn, Pedro Gomez and Mike Fish, "Sources said Bosch will meet with MLBofficials in New York Friday to begin sharing information and materials. He is expected to meet with lawyers and investigators for several days."

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ESPN's T.J. Quinn noted that "about 20 players" will be receiving suspensions and Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch is cooperating with MLB on the case: 

In addition to Rodriguez and Braun, ESPN’s T.J. Quinn, Pedro Gomez and Mike Fish mentioned several other current major leaguers that could end up with a suspension. The list includes Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera and Jesus Montero, among others previously implicated in the scandal. 

Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez, who was initially implicated in the scandal, is not expected to receive a suspension. According to Quinn, sources have indicated he only received legal substances from Biogenesis. 

There were no specifics given in terms of when MLB is planning on making an announcement, though the report noted it could be as soon as two weeks. 

MLB's collective bargaining agreement calls for a 50-game suspension for first-time violators of the performance-enhancing-drug policy when a positive test is recorded. There are, however, other provisions within the collective bargaining agreement that allow for MLB to enforce lesser suspensions for players convicted without a positive test.

According to Andy Dolich of CSN Bay Area, those suspensions—for "conviction for use of prohibited substances"—range anywhere from 15-to-30 games for first-time offenders and come with a $10,000 fine. 

Though the story is still developing, the ESPN report notes that the commissioner’s office is going for the harshest-possible penalties. Sources close to the investigation have said that MLB will seek 100-game suspensions for Rodriguez, Braun and others who have been linked to performance-enhancing drugs in the past, as Quinn noted on Twitter

MLB officials reportedly feel emboldened to go forward with the punishments, which would be among the most unprecedented in sports history, after striking a deal with Bosch to supply information. Bosch is expected to meet with baseball officials within the next week, when he will be asked to offer up the names of players to investigators and give sworn testimony against those implicated.

The controversy stems from a Miami New Times report in January that exposed Biogenesis' intricate performance-enhancing-drug web. Biogenesis, based out of Miami, had supplied multiple major-league sluggers and pitchers with steroids, human-growth hormone and testosterone.

The New Times report implicated Rodriguez, Braun and others as clients of Biogenesis, and MLB launched an investigation in the aftermath. In meeting with people associated with the now-defunct clinic, MLB received documentation on how the company was run.

Braun’s name is on two documents, both of which list him as a client owing money. One indicates he owes $20,000-to-$30,000 and another represented a pending payment of $1,500 for performance-enhancing drugs, according to what sources told ESPN. 

MLB also sued Bosch in March, accusing Biogenesis of working to breach player contracts. The league was seeking unspecified damages and the rights to documents to help in the investigation. As part of MLB's settlement with Bosch, it has agreed to drop its suit against the Biogenesis founder. 

All players who receive suspensions are allowed to appeal the ruling. There is no word from Rodriguez, Braun or the MLBPA at this time regarding ESPN's report.