Ryan Braun responds to report
Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun has acknowledged a business relationship with Anthony Bosch, saying he consulted with the founder of the Miami-based anti-aging clinic only to strengthen his appeal of a 2011 positive test result for performance-enhancing drugs.
Braun released a statement Tuesday in response to a report by Yahoo! Sports, which said the outfielder's name is listed in records obtained from Biogenesis of America LLC, the clinic that allegedly provided PEDs to several high-profile baseball players.
Braun tested positive for elevated testosterone levels in 2011, the year he was named National League MVP. But the five-time All-Star appealed the result of the test and avoided a suspension when an arbitration panel upheld the appeal, ruling that there were questions with how Braun's sample had been handled.
"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," Braun said in his statement. "More specifically, he answered questions about T/E ratio and possibilities of tampering with samples."
The T/E ratio is a comparison of the levels of testosterone to epitestosterone.
Braun emphatically denied using PEDs throughout the appeal process last winter and reiterated that sentiment Tuesday in his statement, saying he has "nothing to hide."
David Cornwell, the lead attorney for Braun's defense team last winter, also issued a statement Tuesday, asserting that Bosch's contributions were "negligible."
"In the 15 years that I have represented players facing discipline under the various professional sports leagues' substance abuse and steroid programs, I have relied primarily, if not exclusively, on Dr. David L. Black and his team of scientists at Aegis Sciences Corporation in Nashville, Tenn., as my experts with respect to scientific and other matters relevant to the testing of player specimens," Cornwell's statement said. "I was not familiar with Tony Bosch prior to Ryan Braun's case. Bosch was introduced to me at the earliest stage of Ryan's case.
"I found Bosch's value to be negligible, and I followed my prior practice of relying on Aegis in the preparation of Ryan's winning defense."
Braun's name is not listed next to any specific PEDs, according to Yahoo! Sports. He is on a list that includes Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Francisco Cervelli, Danny Valencia and Cesar Carrillo, the website reported.
According to the Yahoo! Sports report, Braun's name also appeared directly above a line that reads, "RB 20-30K." Bosch listed amounts of money owed next to the names of other players, according to the report.
But Braun asserted in his statement the "moneys owed" to Bosch were merely compensation for his consultation during the appeal process.
"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," Braun's statement said. "I have nothing to hide and have never had any other relationship with Bosch.
"I will fully cooperate with any inquiry into this matter."
Chris Lyons, an attorney who also represented Braun during his defense, declined comment when contacted by ESPN's "Outside the Lines."
Lyons also was mentioned multiple times in the Biogenesis record, according to Yahoo! Sports.
Lyons represented another athlete whose name appears in Bosch's records, professional tennis player Wayne Odesnik, well before the Braun case.
Odesnik, 27, of Weston, Fla., pleaded guilty to importation of human growth hormone in Australia in March 2010. Customs officials there found eight vials of HGH and other medical paraphernalia in his luggage when he entered the country that January to play in a lead-up tournament for the Australian Open. Odesnik initially lied to authorities, saying he had a prescription for HGH, but later said he had ordered the banned substance from the Internet, according to Australian court documents first reported by ESPN.com. The source of the HGH was not disclosed in court records, and Odesnik refused to address it in subsequent interviews.
The International Tennis Federation suspended Odesnik for two years, but that sanction was later reduced to one year in exchange for providing unspecified "substantial assistance" as permitted under the World Anti-Doping Agency code, and Odesnik played a full season in 2011. Lyons represented Odesnik in that doping case.
The Miami New Times posted documents that show Odesnik's name in notebooks dated from 2009 through 2011. In an emailed response to the New Times, Odesnik, currently ranked No. 154 on the ATP Tour, denied ever having been a client of Bosch's or purchasing any performance-enhancing drugs from "any person."
ITF anti-doping manager Stuart Miller told ESPN.com that the federation, which oversees testing and sanctioning procedures for the men's and women's tours, is following up on the new information regarding Odesnik.
Various media reports the past several days have stated that the Drug Enforcement Administration is investigating the PED scandal in South Florida, but sources have told "Outside the Lines" there is no active investigation. MLB hopes one will be started, the sources said, but the federal agency has thus far not moved to do so. The FBI is also not involved.
Sources told "Outside the Lines" that MLB investigators have reached out to Bosch associates, but those associates are not cooperating.
Braun led the NL in homers (41), runs (108) and slugging percentage (.595) last season while batting .319 with 112 RBIs and 30 stolen bases. He finished second to San Francisco catcher Buster Posey in MVP voting.
Other names linked to the anti-aging clinic are slowly being revealed. Jesus Montero, a former Yankees prospect who was traded to the Mariners before last season, was also named in the Biogenesis records, according to the New York Daily News, which does not make clear if any PEDs are associated with Montero.
In a statement Wednesday, Montero's agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, say no one at their agency, AECS, had ever heard of Bosch until his name surfaced in news reports recently.
Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta was named in the Biogenesis records, too, sources told SI.com. Peralta disputed the report, saying through attorney Barry Boss that he's never used PEDs -- "and anyone who says otherwise is lying."
According to the SI.com report, Peralta was not directly tied to PEDs in the records.
Cervelli has spent parts of the past five seasons as a backup catcher with the Yankees. A career .271 hitter who appeared just in three games this past season, Cervelli responded to Tuesday's report on his official Twitter account, stating that he purchased supplements from Biogenesis that were not banned by MLB.
"Following my foot injury in March 2011, 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," Cervelli tweeted.
Valencia, 28, played college baseball at the University of Miami -- as did Braun and Carrillo. After spending last season with the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox, Valencia signed with the Baltimore Orioles this offseason.
A three-year veteran, Valencia denied using PEDs in a statement released Tuesday night.
"As any innocent person would be, I am shocked and troubled that my name is in any way connected to this story," Valencia said in his statement. "I have never met or spoken to anyone connected with Biogenesis, in fact I had never even heard of this company prior to the New Times' story.
"I take tremendous pride in the hard work and dedication I put into being a professional baseball player and have never taken PEDs or failed a drug test of any kind during my career. I look forward to fully cooperating in MLB's investigation in any way that I can, and will explore taking legal action if this issue is not resolved in a timely fashion."
Major League Baseball officials have asked the New Times for the records the newspaper obtained for last week's report. New Times editor Chuck Strouse said Tuesday that the paper had not yet decided how to respond, describing MLB's move as a request and noting the league does not have legal subpoena power.
Asked specifically about Braun's name in the documents before the slugger released his statement, MLB spokesman Pat Courtney told The Associated Press: "Aware of report and are in the midst of an active investigation in South Florida."
ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick and Mike Fish, Outside The Lines' T.J. Quinn and The Associated Press contributed to this report.