A bombshell has been dropped on the Major League Baseball community this morning, as a report in the Miami New Times details a number of major league players who are linked to a Miami-area anti-aging clinic called Biogenesis, which allegedly supplied massive amounts of performance-enhancing drugs.
Among those players is Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez, a Hialeah, Fla. native, who won 21 games last season and finished third in the National League Cy Young voting.
Also named in the New Times article are five other major leaguers: Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz and Yasmani Grandal. Four of those five (Rodriguez, Cabrera, Colon and Grandal) have either admitted using performance-enhancing drugs in the past or have failed a drug test, resulting in a suspension.
According to the report, Gonzalez's name appears five times in the notebooks of Anthony Bosch, the man who ran Biogenesis. The clinic is referred to in the report as "the East Coast version of BALCO," which was the California lab that supplied PEDs to Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi.
The report says a specific note in Biogenesis' 2012 notebook is attributed to Gonzalez. That note reads: "Order 1.c.1 with Zinc/MIC/... and Aminorip. For Gio and charge $1,000."
The New Times says Aminorip is a "muscle-building protein."
None of the substances listed in connection with Gonzalez are found on MLB's banned substances list.
Making the link to Gonzalez even a bit more complicated is that Gonzalez's father, Max, appears on Bosch's client lists, often in conjunction with his son.
The New Times reached Max Gonzalez by phone, and he gave the following statement:
"My son works very, very hard, and he's as clean as apple pie," the elder Gonzalez says. "I went to Tony because I needed to lose weight. A friend recommended him, and he did great work for me. But that's it. He never met my son. Never. And if I knew he was doing these things with steroids, do you think I'd be dumb enough to go there?"
The group that Gio Gonzalez is associated with in this report is obviously not a positive one, but as of right now, there doesn't appear to be any hard evidence that the Nationals' left-hander took anabolic steroids, testosterone, human growth hormone or any performance-enhancing drugs.
Players testing positive for performance-enhancers draw a 50-game suspension for a first failed test, but Gonzalez has not failed a test to date. We'll have to see what information comes out of this, and how it will affect the 27-year-old All-Star this upcoming season.
Update: The Nationals have yet to comment on Gonzalez's link to Biogenesis, and Gio Gonzalez has not responded to a voice mail, but Major League Baseball has released a lengthy statement, part of which you can read below.
"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. It is also important to note that three of the players allegedly involved have already been disciplined under the Joint Drug Program. ...
"We are in the midst of an active investigation and are gathering and reviewing information. We will refrain from further comment until this process is complete."
Update II: Gio Gonzalez has issued a statement via Twitter denying any wrongdoing in regards to the usage of performance-enhancing drugs.
Here is that statement:
"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."
Update III: General manager Mike Rizzo has issued a statement, via a team-issued release. Not much here, but it's worth passing along.
"The issue is currently being reviewed by Major League Baseball and it would be inappropriate for the Nationals to comment until that review is completed," Rizzo said.