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Reports: 20 Major League Baseball Players May Be Suspended

Dark clouds hang over Major League Baseball. There are reports that about 20 players may be suspended because of their connections to a Miami clinic that dispensed performance-enhancing drugs. (Photo taken Sunday at Yankee Stadium.)
Jason Szenes
Dark clouds hang over Major League Baseball. There are reports that about 20 players may be suspended because of their connections to a Miami clinic that dispensed performance-enhancing drugs. (Photo taken Sunday at Yankee Stadium.)

"Major League Baseball will seek to suspend about 20 players connected to the Miami-area clinic at the heart of an ongoing performance-enhancing drug scandal, including Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, possibly within the next few weeks," ESPN's Outside the Lines reports.

"If the suspensions are upheld," ESPN adds, "the performance-enhancing drug scandal would be the largest in American sports history."

USA Today followed that story with this:

"Major League Baseball has been informed by Tony Bosch, head of the South Florida wellness clinic, that he will testify about his relationship with performance-enhancing drugs and dozens of baseball players, a move that could lead to suspensions for Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and other notable major leaguers, according to a person familiar with the negotiations."

The New York Times has a similar report:

"The head of a defunct South Florida anti-aging clinic suspected by Major League Baseball of providing a number of players with banned substances has agreed to cooperate with the sport's investigators, potentially opening the way for player suspensions, according to a person briefed on the matter.", the league's newssite, is covering the news this way:

"Major League Baseball could be close to a far-reaching conclusion about Biogenesis that would be both historic in scope and a clear demonstration of its commitment to ridding the game of illegal steroids and human growth hormone. ESPN's Outside the Lines reports that Anthony Bosch, founder of the Miami-area Biogenesis anti-aging clinic accused of supplying performance-enhancing substances to a number of highly recognizable players, including Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz and Alex Rodriguez, has agreed to cooperate in baseball's investigation. ...

" 'I've already addressed everything related to the Miami situation,' Braun said [Tuesday night]. 'I addressed it in spring training. I will not make any further statements about it. The truth has not changed. I don't know the specifics of the story that came out today, but I've already addressed it, I've already commented on it and I'll say nothing further about it.'

"Major League Baseball declined to comment Tuesday night."

Rodriguez, who has admitted using performance enhancing drugs in the past, has denied being a patient at Bosch's clinic. He has not played yet this season, due to injuries.

Cabrera, now with the Toronto Blue Jays, was suspended for 50 games last season (when he played with the San Francisco Giants) after tests showed he had elevated levels of testosterone. Of the new reports, he told USA Today that, "I don't know anything about it. ... If they suspend me again, I think that would be a harsh punishment because I already served my sentence. But it's up to them."

Cruz, a Texas Ranger, said Tuesday night that, "I cannot say anything. ... I guess it's part of the process. (The investigators are) doing their job. I don't have any other comment about it."

NPR has not independently confirmed the reports about the possible suspensions.

A related Two-Way post from January: Report: Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera Among Baseball Stars Linked To Doping.

Update at 11:15 a.m. ET. Players Union Says No Decisions On Discipline Have Been Made.

In a statement just sent to reporters, the Players Association says it:

"Has been in regular contact with the commissioner's Office regarding the Biogenesis investigation. They are in the process of interviewing players, and every player has been or will be represented by an attorney from the Players Association. The commissioner's Office has assured us that no decisions regarding discipline have been made or will be made until those interviews are completed. It would be unfortunate if anyone prejudged those investigations."

The union adds that it "has every interest in both defending the rights of players and in defending the integrity of our joint program. We trust that the commissioner's Office shares these interests."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.