USADA: A-Rod regimen 'potent'
The regimen of performance-enhancing substances delivered by Anthony Bosch to Alex Rodriguez was "probably the most potent and sophisticated drug program developed for an athlete that we've ever seen," U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart told The Associated Press.
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"No one who cares about clean sports likes to hear it," Tygart said in an interview with the AP. "And don't just take my word for it. Look at the findings of an independent arbitrator who saw all the evidence, sat through the testimony and laid the whole conspiracy out."
Tygart said Bosch's regimen included dozens of blood tests to see how the drugs were metabolizing and which doses to use when. It included peptides and female fertility drugs to supplement testosterone, human growth hormone and an insulin-like growth factor.
"At the end of the day," Tygart said, "this was a potent cocktail of sophisticated PEDs stacked together to deliver power, aid recovery, avoid detection and create a home run champion."
Bosch, a self-taught doping guru whose testimony and records brought down Rodriguez, was paid $12,000 a month by the New York Yankees slugger. Last week, arbitrator Fredric Horowitz reduced Rodriguez's suspension from 211 games to the 2014 season (162 games plus playoffs). Rodriguez has filed a lawsuit against baseball and the players' union alleging that Horowitz was biased in his ruling.
Said Dr. Gary Wadler, past chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned substance committee: "It was illegal from start to finish, and not all of it was scientific, but let's be honest -- this guy Bosch knew an awful lot of what he was talking about."
Tygart takes some consolation in knowing that improvements to Major League Baseball's drug-testing program make it unlikely that a player could avoid detection employing the same regimen today. What troubles him, though, is that much of the discussion in the wake of Bosch's "60 Minutes" TV interview has focused on substances with catchy nicknames like "gummies" and "pink food" that actually do little to improve performance.
Instead, Tygart said the real threat was the sophisticated and comprehensive knowledge about a doping regimen that Bosch -- who is not a licensed physician -- was able to acquire and deploy.
Bosch faces potential charges stemming from the investigation into his now-shuttered Biogenesis clinic in South Florida.
Tygart referred specifically to an exchange in which Rodriguez told Bosch he had an important game coming up and asked whether he should take gummies -- a lozenge dosed with testosterone -- at 10:45 a.m. in case he wound up being required to take a drug test after a day game. Bosch replied, "10:30."
"Look, no one can say with that much certainty how long the window [to avoid detection] would be open," Tygart said. "And most people know that tiny dose, even fast-acting testosterone, won't provide much of a boost. But look at it as part of an overall [PED] program, while in-season testing is taking place. It's more like maintenance; it's going to be hard to find, plus it makes the other drugs you're using more effective.
"Another point that may have gotten missed," Tygart added, "is that insiders like Bosch want to give the perception they know. It's part of the pitch, how you market to pro athletes. So saying 10:30 instead of 10:45 makes the athlete think, 'Hey, this guy really knows his stuff.'"
In Bosch's case, that was largely true. So much so that anti-doping experts like Tygart and Wadler have broadened the scope of their investigations to include many of the same tactics that law enforcement agencies use to pursue suppliers of a wide range of illegal drugs.
"How many guys will take [Bosch's] protocols and adopt them?" Wadler said. "Plenty. Enhancing performance is tied up with a lot of things, legal and illegal, but the bottom line is always money.
"When we look at this case, it's troubling in a very real sense because most of the science passes muster. What I'd stress is not the part about it being good science, but that it's illicit science. And quite possibly, dangerous at some level, too."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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