The Miami New Times completed a three-month investigation of Biogenics, a Miami-based “anti-aging” clinic which served as a front for PED deals. Among those implicated are athletes that have already been caught — Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon and South African tennis player Wayne Odesnik — as well as Nelson Cruz, “Cuban superstar boxer” Yuriorkis Gamboa and Alex Rodriguez. If the information on A-Rod is true, it means he lied when he said that he only took steroids from 2001-2003, conveniently stopping the year before testing with penalties began.
It’s a huge report, and the full version, which you can read here, is worth your time. We will, however, provide some highlights. The A-Rod news comes as a surprise, but not a huge shock. Cruz, however, is a big name that hasn’t been caught before.
Read further and you’ll find more than a dozen other baseball pros, from former University of Miami ace Cesar Carrillo to Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal to Washington Nationals star Gio Gonzalez. Notable coaches are there too, including UM baseball conditioning guru Jimmy Goins.
The names are all included in an extraordinary batch of records from Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic tucked into a two-story office building just a hard line drive’s distance from the UM campus. They were given to New Times by an employee who worked at Biogenesis before it closed last month and its owner abruptly disappeared. The records are clear in describing the firm’s real business: selling performance-enhancing drugs, from human growth hormone (HGH) to testosterone to anabolic steroids.
Interviews with six customers and two former employees corroborate the tale told by the patient files, the payment records, and the handwritten notebooks kept by the clinic’s chief, 49-year-old Anthony Bosch.
The New Times tells the story with Anthony Bosch as the antagonist and leader of “the East Coast version of BALCO.” Anti-aging” clinics like this claim that they can legally administer testosterone as a medical necessary to combat the “disease” of aging. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that the substances are banned in sports. And that evidence against A-Rod? It’s significant:
But Garcia also found four unremarkable-looking composition books filled with legible, all-caps handwriting. They were, he came to believe, the personal files of Tony Bosch… In these notebooks, he spelled out all the athletes — from baseball to tennis to high school players — buying his products. The name that really made Garcia’s jaw drop was hometown hero Alex Rodriguez…
Yet there was his name, over and over again, logged as either “Alex Rodriguez,” “Alex Rod,” or his nickname at the clinic, “Cacique,” a pre-Columbian Caribbean chief. Rodriguez’s name appears 16 times throughout the records New Times reviewed.
Of course, Rodriguez hasn’t failed a drug test since testing was instituted in 2004, but…
Take, for instance, one patient list from Bosch’s 2009 personal notebook. It charts more than 50 clients and notes whether they received their drugs by delivery or in the office, how much they paid, and what they were taking.
There, at number seven on the list, is Alex Rodriguez. He paid $3,500, Bosch notes. Below that, he writes, “1.5/1.5 HGH (sports perf.) creams test., glut., MIC, supplement, sports perf. Diet.” HGH, of course, is banned in baseball, as are testosterone creams.
That’s not the only damning evidence against A-Rod, though. Another document from the files, a loose sheet with a header from the 19th Annual World Congress on Anti-Aging and Aesthetic Medicine, lays out a full regimen under the name Cacique: “Test. cream… troches prior to workout… and GHRP… IGF-1… pink cream.”
IGF-1 is a banned substance in baseball that stimulates insulin production and muscle growth. Elsewhere in his notebook, Bosch spells out that his “troches,” a type of drug lozenge, include 15 percent testosterone; pink cream, he writes, is a complex formula that also includes testosterone. GHRP is a substance that releases growth hormones.
And remember A-Rod’s cousin who got him all his PEDs? He’s baaaaaaaack:
There’s more evidence. On a 2009 client list, near A-Rod’s name, is that of Yuri Sucart, who paid Bosch $500 for a weeklong supply of HGH. Sucart is famous to anyone who has followed baseball’s steroid scandal. Soon after A-Rod’s admission, the slugger admitted that Sucart — his cousin and close friend — was the mule who provided the superstar his drugs. In 2009, the same year this notebook was written, Sucart (who lives in South Miami and didn’t respond to a message left at his home) was banned from all Yankees facilities.
The mentions of Rodriguez begin in 2009 and continue all the way through last season. Take a page in another notebook, which is labeled “2012” and looks to have been written last spring. Under the heading “A-Rod/Cacique,” Bosch writes, “He is paid through April 30th. He will owe May 1 $4,000… I need to see him between April 13-19, deliver troches, pink cream, and… May meds.
A-Rod is obviously the biggest name in this whole story, and the evidence is pretty damning, but he’s not the only player of note. Melky Cabrera is mentioned 14 times in Bosch’s records. And as we know, was suspended for testosterone use last year. The other big names in the report were Nelson Cruz and Gio Gonzalez, but the evidence against them is much lighter:
But there are also several prominent professionals in Bosch’s records who have never before been linked to steroid use. According to his July 2012 client sheet, Bosch sold $4,000 of product to Nelson Cruz, whom he nicknames “Mohamad.” Cruz, the power-hitting Dominican outfielder for the Texas Rangers, has whacked 130 bombs in his eight-year career without any links to performance-enhancing drugs. Until now. Bosch writes in his 2012 book: “Need to call him, go Thur to Texas, take meds from April 5-May 5, will owe him troches and… and will infuse them in May.”
There’s also the curious case of Gio Gonzalez, the 27-year-old, Hialeah-native, left-handed hurler who won 21 games last year for the Washington Nationals. Gonzalez’s name appears five times in Bosch’s notebooks, including a specific note in the 2012 book reading, “Order 1.c.1 with Zinc/MIC/… and Aminorip. For Gio and charge $1,000.” (Aminorip is a muscle-building protein.)
There’s been talk that Aminorip doesn’t contain any banned substances, but MIC — a supplement used to burn fat — does contain IGF-1, which is banned.
Then again, Gio’s father claims the drugs were for him, and that Gio never met Bosch. There’s a lot of uncertainty here, and none of the athletes are talking yet. And while the steroid-selling accusations against Bosch seem to be accurate, it’s unclear if Bosch was actually breaking the law. Previous cases have suggested that as long as dealers avoid internet sales, they’ll be left alone. But in a high-profile case like this, that may not necessary follow.
An Associated Press investigation this past December found another reason why there hasn’t been much federal action to crack down on clinics such as Biogenesis. Big Pharma has been reaping a bonanza off HGH as civilian sales have skyrocketed. Last year, U.S. sales of HGH topped $1.4 billion, the AP found — more than drug companies made off penicillin or prescription allergy meds. This despite the fact that endocrinologists estimate fewer than 45,000 people in the nation actually suffer from FDA-approved maladies for the drug. The reason is simple: The feds have stopped prosecuting anti-aging clinics, and many people believe the drug is a fountain of youth despite a lack of medical evidence and warnings it might lead to cancerous growths and diabetes.
It’s worth noting that the Yankees most likely can’t void A-Rod’s contract, or this would certainly be a blessing in disguise for the organization. That’s what makes this so sad for A-Rod: according to the New Times‘ story, he took performance-enhancing drugs while his performance declined and while he was mocked by a whole nation for that decline. And as a postscript to all this: for the first time, MLB will begin testing for HGH during the regular season this year. Stay tuned. And again, the full Miami New Times report is here.