Florida Clinic Sued By MLB For Doping Players

On Friday, Major League Baseball has sued a now-shuttered South Florida clinic and its operators and accused them of scheming to offer banned performance enhancing drugs to its players in violation of their MLB contracts.

Unspecified damages from Coral Gables anti-aging clinic Biogenesis of America and its operator, Anthony Bosch, were sought by the lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. The lawsuit also named several other associates of Bosch, who is believed to be out of the country. It was contended by the Major League Baseball that the operators of the clinic solicited players to make use of banned drugs knowing that such use would violate their contracts, specifically the drug prevention and treatment program that became effective in 2003 and is a part of baseball’s collective bargaining agreement with the players, includes a list of banned substances and lays out penalties for violations and imposes testing requirements.

It was also contended by the lawsuit that former star Manny Ramirez, who is now signed to play for a team in Taiwan, obtained a prohibited substance from Bosch in 2009 that ultimately resulted in a suspension of 50 games for Ramirez by MLB when he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers, which marks the first time that the MLB has gone on the record saying Ramirez tested positive for the female fertility drug HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin.

According to the lawsuit, the elements of the scheme included the use of fake or partial names on drug packages sent to players, visits to players at home or at hotels to personally administer the banned substances and claims made to the players that if used properly the drugs “would not result in a positive test” under the MLB drug program. The lawsuit said testosterone, human growth hormone, and human chorionic gonadotropin were among the banned drugs supplied and MLB players were told that the drugs would increase their strength and help them recover from injuries more quickly.

Attorneys Allen Weitzman and Matthew Menchel wrote in the complaint that MLB has suffered “costs of investigation, loss of goodwill, loss of revenue and profits and injury to its reputation, image, strategic advantage and fan relationships,” because of the alleged conspiracy. The lawsuit may offer a way for the Major League Baseball to more deeply investigate Biogenesis and Bosch through depositions of witnesses and subpoenas to obtain documents, although it seeks money damages. The MLB was rebuffed in an effort to get access to clinical records from the alternative Miami New Times newspaper, which has published detailed accounts of the alleged player drug use. The newspaper implicated New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, outfielder Melky Cabrera of the Toronto Blue Jays, Washington pitcher Gio Gonzalez, Oakland pitcher Bartolo Colon, Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz, and San Diego catcher Yasmani Grandal though most of them denied a link with Biogenesis. In the past, Rodriguez has admitted to using performance enhancing drugs and Colon, Cabrera, and Grandal were each suspended for 50 games last year for testing positive for elevated testosterone levels.

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