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MLB interviewing players in Biogenesis case
NEW YORK — Major League Baseball is interviewing players linked to a Miami anti-aging clinic that allegedly sold performance-enhancing drugs and has become the focus of the sport’s investigation.
Clinic founder Anthony Bosch has agreed to talk with MLB, according to numerous reports, and union head Michael Weiner said Wednesday the commissioner’s office has assured the union 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,” Weiner said in a statement.
“Every player has been or will be represented by an attorney from the players’ association,” Weiner said. “The players’ association has every interest in both defending the rights of players and in defending the integrity of our joint (drug) program. We trust that the commissioner’s office shares these interests.”
MLB has been seeking Bosch’s cooperation since Miami New Times reported in January that it obtained what it said were records detailing drug purchases by Rodriguez, Cabrera, Cruz and Colon. Yahoo Sports reported that Braun, the 2011 NL MVP, was mentioned in the records.
MLB sued Biogenesis and its operators in a Florida court in an attempt to pressure Bosch, and a person familiar with the case told The Associated Press on Tuesday night that Bosch has agreed to talk to MLB. The agreement between Bosch and MLB was first reported by ESPN.
Emil Infante, a lawyer who has made an appearance for Bosch in the Florida lawsuit, declined comment.
Once MLB interviews Bosch and the players, it will have to determine what penalties to impose.
Any suspensions for first offenders would be put on hold if the union files a grievance, a process that would put the matter in front of an arbitrator and delay possible sanctions for weeks or months. Second offenders would serve suspensions during the grievance process.
Baseball’s drug agreement calls for a 50-game suspension for a first offense, 100 for a second and a lifetime ban for a third.
While most past suspensions have been for positive drug tests, the drug agreement prohibits players from using or possessing banned performance-enhancing substances and allows for discipline for “just cause.”
Among the players linked to the clinic, Cabrera, Colon and San Diego catcher Yasmani Grandal already have served 50-game suspensions following positive tests for testosterone announced by MLB last year.
Most players have denied the Biogenesis link either directly or through spokesmen or lawyers.
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