“60 Minutes” has learned that members of New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez’s inner circle in February obtained and leaked documents that implicated Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun as well as his own Yankees teammate, catcher Francisco Cervelli, in the doping scandal that has enveloped Major League Baseball.
The leak came just days after the weekly newspaper Miami New Times published documents in January detailing Rodriguez’s pervasive use of performance enhancing drugs.
The handwritten documents of Anthony Bosch, the key witness in Major League Baseball’s PED investigation, revealed comprehensive doping regimens that Bosch had engineered for a host of professional athletes. His cooperation with MLB has resulted in the suspension of Rodriguez and 13 other major league players.
Braun and Cervelli’s names were redacted in the Miami New Times documents. Members of Rodriguez’s camp at the time obtained unredacted versions and leaked them to Yahoo! Sports, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter. The unredacted documents also implicated Baltimore Oriole Danny Valencia, who MLB later investigated and cleared.
In a statement to “60 Minutes,” Rodriguez lawyer David Cornwell said, “The allegations are untrue and are another attempt to harm Alex—this time by driving a wedge between Alex and other players in the game. While Alex focuses on baseball and repeatedly states that he is going to respect the appeal process, the drumbeat of false allegations continues.”
On July 22, Braun accepted a 65-game suspension for the remainder of the 2013 season for taking performance-enhancing drugs. And on Aug. 5, Cervelli, along with 11 other players, accepted a 50-game ban. MLB has suspended Rodriguez for 211 games. He is appealing.
All three of the unredacted documents leaked to Yahoo! Sports list Braun’s name. One document shows Braun on a Bosch list along with Rodriguez, Cervelli, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera and minor league pitcher Cesar Carrillo, all of whom have been suspended for PEDs.
The revelation that members of Rodriguez’s camp at the time leaked documents implicating other players to the media could present significant problems for Rodriguez’s legal team as they enter the arbitration process to appeal his suspension. Baseball officials say they levied a harsher suspension on Rodriguez because of his continued use of PEDs over multiple years as well as his attempt to “obstruct and frustrate” MLB’s investigation.
Rodriguez’s case is set to be heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz in the coming weeks. If MLB were to present evidence that Rodriguez’s camp knowingly leaked additional Bosch business records, it might demonstrate that Rodriguez’s camp had not only obtained them to keep them out of the hands of investigators, but that he actively sought to interfere with baseball’s investigation by releasing other players’ names.
Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement requires that any allegations of PED use are to first be dealt with privately before either the Commissioner’s office or the Players Association makes any names public. The premature release of a player’s name is a direct violation of the collective bargaining agreement.
MLB Players Association head Michael Weiner has said he will support Rodriguez’s appeal of the 211-game ban.
“We feel what he (MLB Commissioner Bud Selig) did, frankly, was inappropriate and almost ridiculous,” he said in an interview earlier this month. “Look at the penalties that have been [given] out and cases that have been decided by the commissioner’s office along with the Players Association. Nothing comes close to 211 games.”
In early April, accusations arose that Rodriguez had purchased at least some of Bosch’s business records. Rodriguez’s spokesperson at the time flatly denied the reports.
Rodriguez has denied any connection to Bosch and his clinic, and says he was never treated by him, advised by him, and that the Miami New Times documents implicating him are not legitimate.