Jordan Norberto on photo day, 2010 - Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
ESPN has added five new names to the list of those who allegedly received drugs from the Biogenesis clinic in Florida. The new list includes Jordan Norberto, who was on the Diamondbacks' Opening Day roster in 2010, and was traded to Oakland in 2011, as part of the Brad Ziegler deal.
Five more professional baseball players have connections to a South Florida clinic at the heart of a widening doping scandal, according to documents obtained by "Outside the Lines." The new players listed in documents from the Biogenesis of America clinic run by Anthony Bosch: San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, 26, the reigning National League stolen-base champion; Jordan Norberto, 26, a lefty reliever with the Oakland A's; Fernando Martinez, 24, a Houston Astros outfielder; Fautino De Los Santos, 27, a reliever claimed off waivers by the Padres; and Cesar Puello, 21, a top Mets outfield prospect.
The report states that the players, "were on a list as having received performance-enhancing drugs", although ESPN is careful to go on to say that "the documents are not proof that the players either received or used PEDs." However, it does seem that the Biogenesis scandal is a gift that keeps on giving as far as an ever-broadening circle of names are concerned. Seems that the Padres appear to be more heavily involved than most: they already had Yasmani Grandal implicated with the clinic: Everth Cabrera is the name that pops out here. D-backs fans probably remember him most for this 2010 incident, when he tangled with Mark Reynolds. 'Roid rage?
Norberto was signed as an amateur free agent by the Diamondbacks in 2004, and made his major-league debut with Arizona early in the 2010 season after making the roster as a left-handed reliever. He struggled badly with his control, walking six batters in only three innings before being sent down: he returned in July and stayed through the end of the season, appearing in 33 games for the Diamondbacks, with a 5.85 ERA and 22 walks in 20 innings of work. He didn't make the big-league club the following season, and was sent to the Athletics with Brandon Allen in a trade deadline deal for Brad Ziegler.
Perhaps a key element is that Norberto is a former client of ACES, a sports agency owned by brothers Seth and Sam Levinson. Four of the five players named today are current or former customers, and the agency also appear to have links to a number of those previously identified as connected with Biogenesis, mostly through a man called Juan Carlos Nunez, who was employed by ACES as a liaison to players. According to ESPN, "10 players identified as Biogenesis clients have ties to ACES." The agency denied wrong doing, and said in a statement, "Juan Nunez ceased doing work on behalf of the agency as soon as we learned of his wrongdoing in the Melky Cabrera matter."