DRUG PROBE

Report: Alex Rodriguez, other local athletes linked to steroids

 

Seven major-league players and a University of Miami strength coach were among those who allegedly bought drugs from a Coral Gables “anti-aging’’ clinic, the Miami New Times reported.

WEB VOTE Alex Rodriguez denies a report that he bought performance enhancing drugs at a Miami Clinic. What do you believe?

sdegnan@MiamiHerald.com

A Miami New Times story published Tuesday linked the names of several Major League Baseball players — including Yankees star Alex Rodriguez — as well as University of Miami strength and conditioning assistant coach Jimmy Goins to an “anti-aging’’ clinic that distributed performance enhancing drugs through 2012.

The clinic, called Biogenesis and reportedly run by 49-year-old Anthony Bosch, “the son of a prominent Coral Gables physician named Pedro Publio Bosch,’’ New Times reported, is now shut down and abandoned. It is located across the street from the UM campus.

UM, already the subject of a nearly two-year-old NCAA investigation into football and basketball improprieties connected to former booster Nevin Shapiro, issued this statement Tuesday:

“The University is aware of media reports regarding one of our employees and an intensive review is under way. Per our policy, we will not comment further on personnel matters.’’

Rodriguez, who previously admitted to PED use from 2001-2003, “appears 16 times throughout the records New Times reviewed,’’ beginning in 2009 and as recently as 2012, according to the report, which was based on a three-month investigation. Anthony Bosch and PED distribution in South Florida are being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Major League Baseball.

Major League Baseball issued the following statement:

“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.’’

A baseball official, speaking to The Miami Herald on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday that MLB did not have any documentation regarding the allegations. If MLB does obtain evidence, the players could be subject to discipline ranging from a 50-game suspension for a first offense to a lifetime ban for a third offense.

Rodriguez is sidelined for at least the first half of the season following hip surgery. He has reportedly hired high-profile defense attorney Roy Black.

“The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true,’’ Rodriguez said in a statement issued by a publicist. “He was not Mr. Bosch’s patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in the story — at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez — are not legitimate.”

Also listed in the report, which backed its findings with what it called “an extraordinary batch of records from Biogenesis,’’ are former UM players Yasmani Grandal and Cesar Carrillo, Miami Monsignor Pace graduate and Washington Nationals All-Star Gio Gonzalez, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, Oakland A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon, and Texas Rangers power hitter Nelson Cruz.

The story wasn’t limited to baseball players. Also linked to the PEDs were Miami boxer Yuriorkis Gamboa, a Cuban defector; and pro tennis player Wayne Odesnik.

Odesnik, who lives in Weston, vehemently denied the allegation to The Miami Herald.

Goins, 35, is a nine-year assistant strength and conditioning coach who lives in Coral Gables and was listed on the UM athletics website as “working primarily’’ with the UM baseball and track and field programs.

Goins’ name was taken off the UM website Tuesday afternoon. He was approached by a Miami Herald reporter as he was returning home Tuesday evening. He said he had no comment but referred calls to his attorney.

When asked if he was still employed by UM or on leave, Goins said, “I cannot comment,’’ before entering his house. His lawyer, Gordon Fenderson, said by phone that Goins hasn’t been charged with anything and his law firm is representing him to be proactive in his defense.

“We’re going to let UM do what they’re going to do and we’ll address it once they make it clear,’’ said Fenderson, who said his client hasn’t been fired but wouldn’t say if he has been suspended. “Naturally, the university is in a position that they’re going to look at this because there are allegations.’’

The New Times reported Goins’ name was on multiple client lists at Biogenesis. The story said, “In one detailed page dated December 14, 2011, [Biogenesis owner Tony] Bosch writes he’s selling [Goins] Anavar, testosterone, and a Winstrol/B-12 mix and charging him $400 a month. Another [report] from this past December includes sales of HGH and testosterone.’’

And though Grandal, a catcher with the San Diego Padres who was suspended by MLB for 50 games after having high testosterone levels in November; and Carrillo, a former Padre now a minor-leaguer with the Detroit Tigers, were mentioned in the New Times report, it does not say whether Goins supplied banned drugs to any UM players — while they were attending school, or even after they left.

Odesnik, the tennis player, was furious.

Reached by phone, Odesnik said he is giving the New Times 24 hours to print a retraction and apology or he will take legal action. In March 2010, Odesnik, at one time ranked No. 77 in the world, pleaded guilty to carrying eight vials of human growth hormone (HGH) into Australia before an event. He was banned from the tour for two years, and the ban was reduced to a year.

He says he has never met Bosch, and that the drugs he carried “absolutely did not’’ come from Bosch.

“I don’t know Tony Bosch, have never had any dealings with him, never stepped in his office, and I have no idea why my name would be connected to his,’’ Odesnik said. “Suggesting that I was a customer of this person is completely and utterly false. The part about my drug suspension is old news, and I’m not denying that. But the rest of it is just not true. When all that happened with me, I supplied the International Tennis Federation a list of all my doctors, and that guy was not on the list. I have never been his patient or client, and now my name is being smeared and spread all over the Internet in connection with this story.’’

Odesnik said he requested from the New Times a copy of the evidence it said had his name on it: “They sent me a piece of paper with my name handwritten on it and a bunch of other things marked out. That’s it. There was no payment listed, nothing, just the name ‘Wayne Odesnik’ written on a sheet of paper.’’

Gamboa’s advisor, attorney Tony Gonzalez, said the boxer was returning to Miami from Las Vegas and he could not be reached.

“We have not talked about this,” Gonzalez said. “When he returns, this is the first topic we’re going to cover. I’m not going to comment until I talk with him.”

Gonzalez indicated he was unaware of Gamboa being linked to HGH.

Gio Gonzalez, who grew up in Hialeah, tweeted on Sunday, the day after The New York Daily News first reported that MLB is investigating Bosch, “I’ve never used performance enhancing drugs of any kind and I never will. I’ve never met or spoken with Tony Bosch or used any substance provided by him. Anything said to the contrary is a lie.’’

The New Times reported that Gonzalez’s father, Max, also was on Bosch’s client lists, but Max Gonzalez said he went there because he needed to lose weight. The story said the father “insists his son has had no contact with Bosch. ... He’s as clean as apple pie. ... If I knew he was doing these things with steroids, do you think I’d be dumb enough to go there?”

As for the Miami Marlins, president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said Tuesday he has “not been advised’’ of any Marlins being involved in the scandal.

Testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, increases strength, muscle mass and virility, but has also been shown to cause heart problems, increased risk of stroke, enlargement of the prostate, aggressive behavior, lack of impulse control, and sleep apnea.

HGH may help increase muscle size, burn fat, tighten skin and boost energy, but can cause increased risk of diabetes, joint pain, swelling of hands and feet, among other ailments.

John Hoberman, University of Texas professor and author of Testosterone Dreams, and expert on sports doping issues, said of the ongoing saga of steroids: “These anti-aging clinics spring up like mushrooms. They serve guys worried about getting old, cops, bouncers, bodybuilders and ballplayers.

“There is a huge global market for HGH and steroids, and you cannot police the supply. Athletes are likely a small fraction of the customer base. ... It’s a booming pseudo-medical industry.’’

Herald staff writers Barry Jackson, Clark Spencer, Linda Robertson, Santos Perez and Scott Hiaasen contributed to this report.

Read more UM stories from the Miami Herald

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