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Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Francisco Cervelli denies PED use

By Wallace Matthews
ESPNNewYork.com

TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli on Wednesday denied receiving any illegal performance-enhancing drugs from Biogenesis, the Miami anti-aging clinic currently under investigation by Major League Baseball.

CervelliLook at me. You check the numbers. I know it doesn't matter, but if you check the numbers and everything, I don't use that stuff.

-- Francisco Cervelli

But there were contradictory elements to Cervelli's account of his dealings with Biogenesis and its director, Anthony Bosch, who is suspected of supplying players with steroids, HGH and other substances banned by MLB.

At first Cervelli said he consulted with Bosch about a broken foot he suffered in spring training of 2011 but received only "suggestions."

"I just went there, talked, and that's it," Cervelli said. "I walked away without nothing in my hands."

Cervelli said he took no treatment at Biogenesis and that his visit to the clinic did not help him. He also said that in retrospect, he now regrets visiting the clinic.

"Well, you know, sometimes, when we got injuries we get a little desperate to come back quick, and we always want a second opinion," he said. "I went there. At that moment I don't know what kind of clinic it was. So like I said, I take my responsibility. Nobody put a gun to my head to go there, so that's it."

But later Wednesday, in a 10-minute group interview session conducted in a hallway outside the Yankees' clubhouse at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Cervelli said he wanted to stand by the statement he released via his Twitter account when his name surfaced in the records of Biogenesis on Feb. 5.

"Following my foot injury in March 2011," he wrote in the statement. "I consulted with a number of experts, including Biogenesis Clinic, for legal ways to aid my rehab and recovery. I purchased supplements that I am certain were not prohibited by Major League Baseball."

Asked if he had been offered illegal performance-enhancing drugs, Cervelli said no.

"Look at me," Cervelli said, indicating his wiry physique. "You check the numbers. I know it doesn't matter, but if you check the numbers and everything, I don't use that stuff."

Cervelli said Biogenesis had been recommended to him by "someone," although he would not reveal who, other than to say it was neither a player nor his former agents, Seth and Sam Levinson, four of whose clients -- Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez, Nelson Cruz and Jesus Montero -- also have been linked to Biogenesis.

Cervelli also said that his teammate and friend, Alex Rodriguez, was not the person who recommended he go to Biogenesis, nor have the two spoken about the clinic since it was revealed in a story by the Miami New Times that Rodriguez's name appeared in the clinic's records alongside notations believed to signify PEDs.

An ESPN.com story quoted sources as saying Bosch had personally injected Rodriguez with steroids in his Miami home. Through a spokesman, A-Rod has denied the allegations and said the Biogenesis records were "not legitimate," suggesting they were forgeries.

While Cervelli's name also appears in the records, there are no notations alongside it, and Cervelli has never denied that he did visit the clinic.

Cervelli said he did meet with Bosch but would not reveal what form of therapy or treatment  Bosch suggested he use.

"We talked about things, and that's it," he said.

Cervelli said the Biogenesis investigation would not distract him from his goal this spring, which is to win the Yankees' starting catching job in a competition with Chris Stewart and rookie Austin Romine.

"I've been with the Yankees for 10 years already, and this was my dream from day one, to be a starting catcher," Cervelli said.  "I'm here just doing what I know, having fun, doing things right, and they'll decide what they have to do. I know my situation right now. No distractions; I just came here to play baseball."