Oh, look. Our favorite Milwaukee Brewer - the one who failed a drugs test while leading his team to the narrowest of wins over the Diamondbacks in the 2011 NLDS - is now being linked to the Biogenesis clinic operating out of Florida. It's the same one which has already dragged Alex Rodriguez's name back into the PED spotlight.
The new report came out last night on Yahoo! Sports, where Tim Brown and Jeff Passan reported "Braun's name is in records of the Miami-area clinic alleged to have distributed performance-enhancing drugs to a rash of baseball players, and Major League Baseball will investigate the link to the former MVP who tested positive for illegal synthetic testosterone during the 2011 postseason." However, it has to be noted that Braun's name is not linked to any specific drugs, unlike some of the players previously linked. He isn't the only player whose name has been added to those linked with the clinic:
Braun is on a list that includes Cesar Carrillo, who the New Times reported received PEDs from Bosch. Also on the list are New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and Baltimore Orioles third baseman , who weren't listed near PEDs either. The record matches a document the New Times posted with Braun's name redacted and Cervelli and Valencia's cut off., and
Of course, Braun has an explanation, releasing a prepared statement:
"During the course of preparing for my successful appeal last year, my attorneys, who were previously familiar with Tony Bosch, used him as a consultant. More specifically, he answered questions about T/E [testosterone to epitestosterone] ratio and possibilities of tampering with samples. There was a dispute over compensation for Bosch's work, which is why my lawyer and I are listed under 'moneys owed' and not on any other list. I have nothing to hide and have never had any other relationship with Bosch. I will fully cooperate with any inquiry into this matter."
It seems somewhat plausible - as we all know, Braun escaped a ban for his positive test on what could be described as a technicality, relating to how his sample was held over the weekend, after it could not be handed over to FedEx on time. However, I would quite like an answer to the question of precisely why Braun - or, at least. his attorneys - were "previously familiar with Tony Bosch." I'd also have a lot more respect for someone who came out ahead of the curve: if Braun had released his statement before Messrs. Passan and Brown had linked his name to the clinic.
There does certainly seem circumstantial evidence connecting Braun to the clinic. The report points out, "The early portion of MLB's investigation has focused on the web of connections to the University of Miami, where Braun attended college. Carrillo, a pitcher in the Detroit Tigers organization [Cesar Carrillo, reported by the New Times as receiving PEDs from Bosch], was Braun's road roommate for three years. Jimmy Goins, a strength-and-conditioning coach at the school and alleged client of Bosch's, worked with Braun during his three years at Miami."
I admit to some skepticism regarding these reports, in particular the fact that most of the names that have come out so far appear to be those, like Melky Cabrera, who have previously failed tests or been linked to PEDs. Whether you treat this as corroborative evidence in those cases, or attaching dubious evidence to names for whom it's more likely to be believed, is up to you.... But I've a feeling this is a can of worms that's likely to continue crawling out for some time to come.