A's lefty Norberto linked to Biogenesis clinic
Five more players have been named in the widening Biogenesis scandal on Tuesday, according to ESPN's "Outside the Lines," but the network's investigation also suggested that Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez, one of the high-profile stars previously linked to Anthony Bosch's now-shuttered Coral Gables, Fla., clinic did not receive banned substances.
Major League Baseball is continuing its own independent investigation of the claims, which have alleged that Gonzalez, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz, Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal and Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli are among some two dozen players who received performance-enhancing substances from Biogenesis. All have denied improper activity; Braun and Cervelli explained they used Bosch as a consultant last year.
The latest report does not include any All-Stars, but does mention the 2012 National League stolen-base leader, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, along with A's left-handed reliever Jordan Norberto, Astros outfielder Fernando Martinez, Padres reliever Fautino De Los Santos and top Mets outfield prospect Cesar Puello.
Sources told ESPN that these names were also on a list that seemed to indicate players who had received drugs.
The twist is that the most recent revelations exempt Gonzalez. ESPN reported, "[Two] sources, speaking independently, identified Gonzalez as the only Bosch client named thus far who did not receive performance-enhancing drugs. A document ... bolsters their case: On a computer printout of clients, Gonzalez, identified by the code name 'Gladiator,' is said to have received $1,000 worth of substances, but under 'notes' are several substances not banned by Major League Baseball: 'gluthetyn' [which a source said was a misspelling of glutathione], 'IM [intramuscular] shots' and amino acids.
"Glutathione is an anti-oxidant, and one source said the 'IM shots' Gonzalez received were 'MICs,' a medically dubious but legal combination of methionine, inositol and choline, often used for weight loss."
The Mets issued a statement on Puello, which read: "Because of the ongoing investigation, we have no comment. We refer all questions to Major League Baseball."
The Astros, through a spokesman, also declined comment on Martinez.
ESPN noted that three of the five new players named -- Puello, De Los Santos and Martinez -- are clients of the Brooklyn-based ACES sports agency run by Seth and Sam Levinson. The others, Cabrera and Norberto, were formerly represented by the firm.
From the report: "All told, 10 players identified as Biogenesis clients have ties to ACES, and most have been connected by sources or documents as having worked with Juan Carlos Nunez, who worked for ACES as a liaison to players. Seth and Sam Levinson have said they had no knowledge of Nunez's extensive work with Biogenesis, and said he was temporarily employed by them as a contractor.
"Seth Levinson declined comment Tuesday on the new documents and the players named, but issued a statement denying the agency's knowledge: 'Other than those players who have previously tested positive, we have seen no evidence to conclude that any of the players mentioned recently in the media were involved with performance-enhancing drugs.
"As we've stated unequivocally before: Anyone who knows us knows that it is absolutely ridiculous to think that we would ever condone the use of performance-enhancing drugs. We have represented many hundreds of players over 25 years, and our track record makes it perfectly clear that we do things the right way. Neither Sam nor I or anyone else at ACES have ever met or even heard of Anthony Bosch until the recent news stories nor does anyone have any knowledge of or connection to Biogenesis.
"Moreover, Juan Nunez ceased doing work on behalf of the agency as soon as we learned of his wrongdoing in the Melky Cabrera situation. The [Major League Baseball Players Association's] investigation into that matter found that we had no involvement in or knowledge of any wrongdoing. Similarly, in this case, we are not involved and do not have any knowledge as to what took place or who was involved. We don't think it is responsible to speculate further given the complete lack of evidence.'"
Melky Cabrera, Grandal and Bartolo Colon have previously been suspended for testing positive for PEDS.
MLB, in cooperation with the MLBPA, announced enhanced drug testing at the Owners Meetings in Paradise Valley, Ariz., in January that included year-round blood testing for human growth hormone and the establishment of baseline levels that make it easier to detect synthetic testosterone.