LOS ANGELES, January 29, 2013 — Uh-oh. The steroid monster is rearing its ugly head again in Major League Baseball. A list of client names has surfaced from an “anti-aging” clinic in south Florida. On that list are many athletes, including Major League Baseball stars Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals, and Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers, according to a report from the Miami New Times.
In addition to the names and nicknames of the MLB stars, the list includes details of which drugs each player received, when they got them and how much they paid. The performance enhancing drugs include testosterone creams, HGH, and steroids. The dates are as recent as 2012.
Also on the list, are Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon and Yasmani Grandal, all of whom had already been caught in 2012 by baseball’s drug testing program. Melky Cabrera was suspended for 50 games for high levels of testosterone in August while playing for the San Francisco Giants. He served his suspension, but was left off of the post-season roster for the Giants. During the off-season, he signed a two-year contract worth $16 million with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Less than two weeks after Cabrera was suspended, Bartolo Colon was suspended for 50 games by MLB for synthetic testosterone while playing for the Oakland A’s. The A’s signed him in November to a new one-year contract for 2013 worth $3 million. The contract could be worth up to $6 million if certain incentives are reached.
Yasmani Grandal was a rookie last year with the San Diego Padres. He was suspended in November 2012 for 50 games for elevated testosterone levels. He will start the 2013 season with the San Diego Padres while serving out his suspension.
Alex Rodriguez admitted in 2009 to using steroids after signing a then record $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers. He has said that he only used steroids from 2001 through 2003. Rodriguez, or El Cacique as he is nicknamed on the list, claims to have been clean since 2003. Yuri Sucart, cousin/friend of Alex Rodriguez, is also on the list.
Rodriguez said in 2009 that Sucart was the person who brought him the drugs from 2001 to 2003. He signed another deal with the New York Yankees that extended his contract to a record $275 million. He is owed $114 million over the next five years of his contract.
Last week, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said the 37-year-old Rodriguez could be out for the entire 2013 season after having surgery on his hip. Neither Gio Gonzalez nor Nelson Cruz had previously been accused or suspected of using performance-enhancing substances. Gonzalez was a 21 game winner in 2012 for the Washington Nationals, while posting a 1.12 WHIP and 9.3 K/9. Gonzalez was traded to Washington from the Oakland A’s prior to the 2012 season and is under team control until 2017. The father of Gio Gonzalez also appears on the list. Gonzalez has denied ever using performance-enhancing substances.
Nelson Cruz hit 24 homeruns in 642 plate appearances for the Texas Rangers in 2012. He is under contract until the 2014 season. The Texas Rangers released a comment saying that they are aware of the allegations and that they have alerted MLB of the issue.
If these allegations are proven to be true, it is bad news for baseball. Major League Baseball announced this winter that they will implement a new in-season HGH testing program.
Baseball needs to go further though: Implement bi-daily testing no more than 12 hours apart during the season and post-season. Also, there needs to be more random testing during the off-season. However, ultimately, there is only so much Major League Baseball can do.
While the league is taking great strides to clean up a once very dirty game, it seems that they are one step behind the cheaters at all times. And perhaps that is the way it will always be. You can’t devise a test for a substance that you do not know exists. Once there is a test in place, the scientists are already moving on to new substances.
The fact of the matter is that there will always be someone looking to gain a competitive edge. That edge may come in the form of a dedicated diet and workout regimen. It may also, unfortunately, materialize in an illegal drug regimen. The game is definitely cleaner than it was in 1999, but it is far from clean.
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