The expression on the faces of Youkilis, Cano, Nix, Overbay and CC after the Yankees pulled off the rare triple play tonight against the O’s was priceless. They looked like 12-year-old boys and it was charming – and the O’s looked dazed and confused.
Also priceless was Adam “Bubble Gum” Jones when he dropped Vernon Wells’ fly to deep center.
The game was tense for awhile there – a pitcher’s duel involving a sharp CC and an O’s pitcher who had a fondness for pitching inside. I couldn’t believe he hit Nunez and now we have another injured player, negative X-rays or not. It was bad enough reading about Pettitte before the game. Back spasms. Grrrr.
Yankees’ Rodriguez Tied to Clinic Records Purchase
By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT
Published: April 12, 2013
Former employees of a now-shuttered South Florida anti-aging clinic and others who had ties to it have told Major League Baseball that the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez arranged to purchase documents from the clinic to keep them out of baseball’s hands, according to two people briefed on the matter.
The assertions about Rodriguez’s activities were conveyed to baseball through investigators who have been in Florida since last summer as they try to establish if the clinic was providing performance-enhancing drugs to major leaguers, including Rodriguez, 37, a slugger who is still recovering from off-season hip surgery and has yet to play in 2013.
The two people said that the investigators were told by the ex-employees and others that documents said to be from the clinic had been put up for sale by various people and that Rodriguez had arranged for an intermediary to purchase at least some of them.
That, in turn, led Major League Baseball to conclude that other players linked to the clinic would also attempt to buy documents to conceal incriminating evidence and accelerated baseball’s own efforts to purchase as many documents as it could.
A spokesman for Rodriguez denied on Friday that his client had arranged to acquire any documents.
From baseball’s point of view, a cat-and-mouse game has now emerged with the clinic, and Rodriguez, in the middle. Since admitting several years ago to using performance enhancers in the early part of last decade, when he was playing for the Texas Rangers, Rodriguez has had to meet with baseball’s investigators on several occasions as new allegations have periodically emerged potentially linking him to drug use.
Rodriguez, in those meetings with baseball officials, has consistently denied using performance enhancers after he left the Rangers. Investigators for baseball, unsatisfied, have on several occasions asked federal authorities to provide them with any drug-related information about Rodriguez. But those requests have not been successful.
Now Major League Baseball finds itself with the belief that Rodriguez bought documents to keep the sport from getting a full picture of his links to the clinic.
But there are an untold number of documents swirling around, and questions about what they actually show and how they would be authenticated. Major League Baseball may ultimately choose to focus on testimony it has obtained from a number of the clinic’s former employees, rather than the documents if it proceeds with efforts to discipline Rodriguez or other players, one of the two people said.
Those ex-employees were paid for the time they spent talking with baseball’s investigators, the two people said, with the payments not believed to have exceeded several thousand dollars. Whether their statements alone are strong enough for baseball officials to proceed with disciplinary action against various players remains to be seen.
In its decade-long effort to rid the sport of performance enhancers — an effort that has included a wider range and number of drug tests and increasingly heavy penalties — baseball officials have still found it difficult to suspend any player in the absence of a positive drug test.
And that is still the hurdle the sport faces even as it has taken the unusual step of now paying for evidence and even as it contemplates what penalties would be called for if it could establish that Rodriguez bought documents in order to conceal them.
As for Rodriguez, he is halfway through a 10-year, $275 million contract — the largest ever in American sports — and is owed $114 million through the end of 2017. He missed all of spring training and is unlikely to return to action until the second half of the season, assuming his rehabilitation proceeds as planned.
But accusations that link him to the anti-aging clinic, and the new assertions about the purchase of documents, have created still more uncertainties about his status for 2013. While the Yankees would never publicly say so, Rodriguez is now widely perceived as a diminished player whose contract is weighing down the team and limiting its flexibility. But he has made clear that he intends to keep playing, and if he is able to do so, the Yankees will have to keep paying him.
As for the anti-aging clinic, Major League Baseball grew so concerned about it last year that it created an improvised war room in its Park Avenue headquarters in Manhattan, mapping out potential evidence about the facility’s activities.
In January, Miami New Times reported that it had obtained medical records from the facility that tied half a dozen players — Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez, Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz and Yasmani Grandal — to the use of banned substances like human growth hormone. The newspaper, a weekly, said it had received the records from a former employee of the clinic and that it included handwritten notations listing various drugs allegedly distributed to various players.
The newspaper said that Rodriguez’s name appeared 16 times in the records.
More records then emerged that tied other players, including the Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun, to the clinic. In turn, many of the named players, including Rodriguez and Braun, denied obtaining any banned substances from the clinic.
In his denial, which was issued through a public relations firm, Rodriguez said the documents cited in the Miami New Times story that were linked to him were “not legitimate.”
Now, however, Major League Baseball has concluded that Rodriguez bought such documents to keep investigators form obtaining them. And Rodriguez has issued another denial even as baseball essentially ignores it and keeps investigating.