Braun: 'Nothing to hide' in link to Miami clinic
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun said he had "nothing to hide" Tuesday after being drawn into the controversy surrounding the defunct South Florida clinic that allegedly supplied performance-enhancing drugs to several Major League players.
Braun's name appears three times in records obtained by Yahoo! Sports from a former employee of Biogenesis, the anti-aging clinic led by Tony Bosch that sits at the center of the scandal. Within hours, Braun, who last winter successfully appealed a positive test for elevated testosterone on a technicality related to the way his test sample was handled, released a statement explaining the link.
"During the course of preparing for my successful appeal last year, my attorneys, who were previously familiar with Tony Bosch, used him as a consultant," Braun said. "More specifically, he answered questions about T/E [testosterone to epitestosterone] ratio and possibilities of tampering with samples.
"There was a dispute over compensation for Bosch's work, which is why my lawyer and I are listed under 'moneys owed' and not on any other list. I have nothing to hide and have never had any other relationship with Bosch. I will fully cooperate with any inquiry into this matter."
The Brewers issued a statement Tuesday night: "Like everyone else, we first learned of this report from the Yahoo! story this evening. At this point, we are not aware of any other details. We understand that Major League Baseball is going through a review process, and to that end, we would defer any additional comment to its officials."
Unlike other players previously linked to the clinic, in no instance is Braun's name listed next to a treatment or substance. The documents obtained by Yahoo! have multiple mentions of Chris Lyons, one of Braun's attorneys during his appeal.
Major League Baseball is in the midst of investigating players' connections to Biogenesis and could levy punishment where appropriate, even in the absence of a positive drug test.
"We have an active ongoing investigation in Florida," MLB said in a statement late Tuesday. "Until that is completed, we can't comment on any of the details or information that has surfaced."
The time frame of the players' possible involvement is unclear, which is to say the matter might relate to previously suspected PED activity. If so, new evidence presumably could open the door for revisiting a case on separate grounds. That, however, is speculation at this stage.
In the wake of Braun's appeal last year, the Players Association and MLB have agreed to further strengthen the testing and ramifications program, which, based on recently announced measures to detect HGH, is recognized as a model for all professional sports.
Yahoo! published images of two records from Biogenesis that include Braun's name, including one list titled "baseball" on which Braun appears with Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Cesar Carrillo, Francisco Cervelli and Danny Valencia.
In response to the Yahoo! report, Cervelli tweeted late Tuesday night: "Following my foot injury in March 2011, I consulted with a number of experts, including Biogenesis clinic, for legal ways to aid my rehab and recovery. I purchased supplements that I am certain were not prohibited by Major League Baseball."
Rodriguez, Cabrera and Carrillo were implicated in the original Miami New Times report that broke open the case. Braun, Cervelli and Valencia were not publicly linked to the clinic until Tuesday.
In another instance, Braun's name appears on one line, with "RB 20-30K" on the next. Bosch listed the amount of money owed by other players in similar notation, though the numbers were usually lower, according to Yahoo!
In the third instance, Braun's name appears in what Yahoo! said appears to be a letter from Bosch to Juan Nunez, who has been linked to the agency that represents Cabrera and two other players linked to the clinic, Nelson Cruz and Gio Gonzalez. The undated letter references "the 'Braun' advantage."
Braun spent three years at the University of Miami before the Brewers made him the fifth overall pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft. Carrillo was Braun's roommate for road games, according to Yahoo!, and Valencia also was a Hurricanes teammate.
Valencia also declared his innocence in a statement Tuesday.
"As any innocent person would be, I am shocked and troubled that my name is in any way connected to this story," Valencia said. "I have never met or spoken to anyone connected with Biogenesis, in fact I had never even heard of this company prior to the New Times' story.
"I take tremendous pride in the hard work and dedication I put into being a professional baseball player and have never taken PEDs or failed a drug test of any kind during my career. I look forward to fully cooperating in MLB's investigation in any way that I can, and will explore taking legal action if this issue is not resolved in a timely fashion."
The original New Times report also implicated Jimmy Goins, a strength-and-conditioning coach at the school, though Goins denied a connection to Biogenesis.
Braun and the Brewers report for the start of Spring Training next week, and he is slated to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
He was hoping for a Spring Training free of controversy the likes of which he faced last year, after successfully appealing a suspension related to a positive test for elevated testosterone during the 2011 postseason. Braun won his appeal by questioning the way his test sample was handled, but he has been publicly adamant that he is innocent of that charge.
"We won because the truth is on my side," Braun said upon reporting to camp a year ago.
But MLB was swift to respond to the ruling, saying it "vehemently disagreed" with the ruling of arbitrator Shyam Das.
Braun went on to bat .319 with 41 home runs and 112 RBIs in 2012, leading the National League in home runs and finishing second in NL MVP Award balloting to the Giants' Buster Posey.