A previously elusive figure in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal has spoken out, saying clinic founder Anthony Bosch visited Alex Rodriguez during last year's American League Championship Series after the New York Yankees slugger sought his help amid a 1-for-9 slump.
The Yankees, when contacted by the New York Daily News, said they had no knowledge of Bosch's presence in Detroit at the ALCS. The Tigers swept the Yankees before going on to lose the World Series to the San Francisco Giants.
ESPN's "Outside the Lines" reported earlier in June that Rodriguez could be one of about 20 players MLB may seek to suspend in connection to Biogenesis and, along with Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun, could face a 100-game suspension.
Porter Fischer, who has been described in some clinic documents as a marketing director before having an apparent falling-out with Bosch last year, also told the Miami New Times in a story published on the weekly newspaper's website that Major League Baseball paid him $5,000 for clinic records he turned over to the league in its investigation of the clinic's South Florida reach.
Sources have told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" that Fischer left Biogenesis of America in September. Fischer, two sources said, had invested $20,000 in the company but grew disenchanted with Bosch and demanded his money back. The sources said Bosch eventually paid Fischer the $20,000 but refused to pay an additional $4,000 that Fischer said he was owed.
Bosch informed Rodriguez that Fischer was threatening to expose the operation, and Rodriguez gave Bosch at least $4,000 "to make it go away," the sources said.
MLB investigators have found some of Fischer's information as it relates to Rodriguez credible, sources previously told ESPN.
According to the New Times report, Fischer also said he took Biogenesis documents and in January supplied them to the New Times -- which later broke the Biogenesis story -- to spite Bosch over the money he felt he was owed. Fischer said an MLB investigator offered him $10,000 more if he handed over the remaining documents he says he had taken from the clinic.
"My safety is worth $15,000?" Fischer asked the MLB investigator before refusing, according to the report. He also declined further offers, he said, including a weekly $1,000 for playing a role as a "consultant" for a year and a final solicitation of $125,000 to sign an affidavit and supply the rest of the documents in his possession.
Fischer said he was also told that MLB was going to sue Bosch and his former associates for tortious interference involving the league's collective bargaining agreement in place with the players' union. (A tortious interference is intentional interference related to contract matters.) MLB filed that lawsuit in March and has secured a cooperative agreement with Bosch, in return for which he will not be targeted in the legal action.
David Cornwell, the attorney who represents Rodriguez and two others involved in the investigation, accused MLB of behaving unethically in its attempt to gather information in the case.
"The conduct of Major League Baseball with the Tony Bosch investigation is despicable, unethical and potentially illegal," Cornwell told USA TodaySports on Wednesday. "Paying for evidence. Offering to pay for evidence. Intimidating witnesses.
"One thing we know: That evidence is unreliable. They have tainted the evidence beyond the point that you can rely on it, from their own conduct. And it's because of this hysterical reaction to the concept [that players procured performance-enhancing drugs from Bosch's anti-aging clinic].
Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president, said the league looks forward to releasing its findings.
"At the conclusion of this investigation, we hope that there will be a full airing of what we have learned about what Mr. Cornwell and his clients have done,'' Manfred told USA Today Sports, "so that the public can decide who has behaved despicably, unethically and illegally.''
MLB investigators and media reporters had been hot on the trail to speak with Fischer soon after the Biogenesis story broke, appearing at the front door of the Coral Gables home Fischer shared with his mother and older sister. His sister, Suzanne, a former classmate of Bosch's at Epiphany High School, told ESPN then that Fischer had left the house abruptly, saying, "Whatever you do, don't answer the door or nothing."
Fischer even left behind his two Rottweilers and 300 pounds of dog food, his sister said, not long before several "goons" with "big muscles" pounded on the door to the house, yelling, "We'll give you money!"
But the "goons" were not the only ones determined to find Fischer. Found at the foot of the door in March, as the dogs could be heard barking aggressively inside, was a business card and handwritten note from an MLB investigator, reading: "Please call -- we know time is $. Call ASAP."
Sources later told ESPN that Fischer had met with MLB investigators but was described as being "not particularly helpful."
Information from ESPN investigative reporters T.J. Quinn and Mike Fish was used in this report.