MLB seeks to suspend A-Rod, Braun
T.J. Quinn, Pedro Gomez and Mike Fish [ARCHIVE]
ESPN.com
June 5, 2013
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Major League Baseball will seek to suspend about 20 players connected to the Miami-area clinic at the heart of an ongoing performance-enhancing drug scandal, including Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, possibly within the next few weeks, "Outside the Lines" has learned. If the suspensions are upheld, the performance-enhancing drug scandal would be the largest in American sports history.

Tony Bosch, founder of the now-shuttered Biogenesis of America, reached an agreement this week to cooperate with MLB's investigation, two sources told "Outside the Lines," giving MLB the ammunition officials believe they need to suspend the players.

One source familiar with the case said the commissioner's office might seek 100-game suspensions for Rodriguez, Braun and other players, the penalty for a second doping offense. The argument, the source said, is the players' connection to Bosch constitutes one offense, and previous statements to MLB officials denying any such connection or the use of PEDs constitute another.

Bosch and his attorneys did not return several calls. MLB officials refused to comment when reached Tuesday. On Wednesday, union executive director Michael Weiner released a statement saying, "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."

Sources said Bosch will meet with MLB officials in New York on Friday to begin sharing information and materials. He is expected to meet with lawyers and investigators for several days. The announcement of suspensions could follow within two weeks.

Sources said discussions between Bosch and MLB were delayed while Bosch's lawyers spoke to the U.S. Attorney's office to get a sense of what sort of legal jeopardy Bosch might face. Before he would agree to a deal, sources said, he wanted an assurance that MLB could help mitigate any criminal exposure. MLB officials promised to do what they could, but do not have the power to stop a federal criminal investigation.

Investigators have had records naming about 20 players for more than a month. But without a sworn statement from Bosch that the records are accurate and reflect illicit interactions between the players and the self-described biochemist, the documents are little more than a road map.

Sources did not say what other materials, such as receipts and phone records, Bosch might provide, but said he has pledged to provide anything in his possession that could help MLB build cases against the players. Sources said MLB officials were not sure how many players might end up being pulled into the scandal; the 20 or so they know of have been identified through paperwork, but Bosch is expected to provide more. (Because some players are listed by their names and some by code names, officials are not yet certain whether some are redundant.)

The development is a major break for MLB, which has pursued the case vigorously since Bosch's name was brought to MLB's attention last summer. In exchange for Bosch's full cooperation, sources said, Major League Baseball will drop the lawsuit it filed against Bosch in March, indemnify him for any liability arising from his cooperation, provide personal security for him and even put in a good word with any law enforcement agency that might bring charges against him. Sources said negotiations over the agreement, which lasted several weeks, stalled over the last point, as Bosch wanted the strongest assurances he could get that MLB would help mitigate any prosecution.

At the same time, MLB is trying to secure the cooperation of at least two other former Bosch associates who have spoken to MLB investigators, as well as Juan Carlos Nunez, a registered agent who worked for longtime agents Seth and Sam Levinson and who is believed to have been a conduit between Bosch and numerous players.

MLB already has established precedent to suspend a player for two offenses in one shot: Minor league player Cesar Carrillo was hit with a 100-game suspension in March when he was confronted with Biogenesis documents containing his name and then denied having any connection to Bosch or the clinic.

However, because Carrillo was on a minor league contract and thus not a member of the MLB Players Association, he was not entitled to an appeal through arbitration. Major league players accused by MLB are expected to fight any suspension, and efforts to charge the players with multiple offenses would take that fight to another level. In the appeals process, players are allowed to confront witnesses and evidence in a courtroom-like procedure before an arbitration panel.

Corroborating evidence against some players could prove difficult to come by. Several sources told ESPN that Bosch dealt only in cash and usually used friends as couriers, sometimes never seeing some of the athletes he served.

In a recent interview with ESPN, his only one since the scandal broke, Bosch said he knew nothing about performance-enhancing drugs and that media accounts of his alleged PED distribution amounted to "character assassination."

"I have been accused, tried and convicted in the media. And so I think [I] have been falsely accused throughout the media," he told ESPN's Pedro Gomez. "I've done nothing wrong."

But sources said Bosch has been feeling pressure from both the MLB lawsuit, which claims tortious interference, and a potential criminal investigation, and that he sees full cooperation with MLB as one of his only refuges. Several attorneys have said they don't think the lawsuit could survive a legal challenge, but Bosch likely would have to put up a costly fight in order to have the case dismissed. Several sources have told ESPN that Bosch is nearly broke, living alternately with family members and friends, and has tried unsuccessfully so far to revive his "wellness" business.

The Florida Department of Health recently said it had sent Bosch a cease-and-desist letter and referred the case to law enforcement. MLB has tried to enlist the Drug Enforcement Agency, but no sources close to the clinic said they have been interviewed by any law enforcement agents and said they don't know of anyone who has been.

MLB officials, though, traveled to Miami last month to take the deposition of anti-aging specialist Dr. Daniel Carpman, a former acquaintance of Bosch. Biogenesis documents from 2011 included prescription forms purportedly signed by Carpman, who previously told "Outside the Lines'' that he didn't sign the forms.

Bosch first came to MLB's attention in 2009 after Manny Ramirez, then with the Los Angeles Dodgers, tested positive for excessive levels of testosterone. While Ramirez appealed that finding, MLB officials discovered a prescription in Ramirez's medical file for human chorionic gonadotropin,...
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