Mariners' Montero linked to Florida clinic
That's according to the New York Daily News, which reported Wednesday that Seattle catcher Jesus Montero's name showed up in the records of Biogenesis, the South Florida anti-aging clinic that is the focus of a Major League Baseball investigation.
The report naming Montero comes more than a week after the Miami New Times published a story claiming the since-closed clinic had supplied performance-enhancing drugs to several players, including Alex Rodriguez, Gio Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz. On Tuesday, Yahoo! Sports reported that former National League MVP Ryan Braun was also listed in the clinic's records.
It is important to note as of now that Montero has not been directly tied to PED use, but rather his name showed up on a hand-written clinic document. In an interview with the Seattle Times at the Mariners complex in Peoria, Ariz., Montero denied knowing Anthony Bosch, who ran the Biogenesis clinic, or how his name ended up in the Daily News report.
"What can I tell you? I have no idea," Montero told the Times. "Like I said, I have no clue what happened. I feel like I'm caught in the middle of something and I don't know why."
As the Daily News report notes, Montero is a client of ACES, Inc, which came under investigation by MLB last summer after another client, Melky Cabrera, failed a drug test and was suspended for 50 games. Seth Levinson, who runs ACES with his brother Sam, issued the following statement to reporters Wednesday:
"Anyone who knows us, knows that it is absolutely ridiculous to think that we would ever condone the use of performance enhancing drugs. Our work over the last 25 years demonstrates that ACES is built on a foundation of honesty, integrity, and doing 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 his involvement in the Melky Cabrera matter came to light. The MLBPA'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 allegedly involved."
Major League Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney acknowledged via e-mail that, "Any name connected to our ongoing efforts in South Florida will be vigorously investigated."
While there is precedent for baseball to suspend players without a failed drug test, the ongoing MLB investigation almost certainly would need to turn up more evidence than what has been produced by the New Times or the Daily News for any players linked to Biogenesis to be suspended.
Montero, who came to Seattle in an offseason trade last year, will report to spring training with pitchers and catchers next week, and the hope is that he can be the Mariners' regular catcher while providing pop to the lineup. One of baseball's top prospects while coming up in the Yankees' organization, Montero hit .260 with 15 home runs and 62 RBI with Seattle last season, his first full big-league season.
The Mariners offered the following response to questions regarding the report:
"The Seattle Mariners strongly support Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, and are disappointed any time we hear of any players potentially involved with banned substances.
"We are aware of the report which appeared today in the New York Daily News and have been in contact with Major League Baseball to discuss it.
"This matter is now in the hands of the Commissioner's Office. At this time, with no additional information, we will have no further comment until that investigation has concluded, and all other questions should be directed to Major League Baseball."
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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