Photo via MLB.com
Before we even get into the MLB suspensions, which we’ll list below, we should probably define the buzzword that is Biogenesis. What is Biogenesis?
Biogenesis is actually Biogenesis of America, a former anti-aging clinic which was supposed to specialize in weight loss and hormone replacement therapy (human growth hormone). That may have been a cover for selling performance enhancing drugs to athletes of many sports, not just baseball.
Dave Meltzer, editor of the Wrestling Observer wrote about the issue in his August 5th issue. Meltzer has been writing about performance enhancing drugs since the early 90s (and maybe before), covering the Vince McMahon steroid conspiracy and distribution trial. He mentioned a Scott Ostler interview with Victor Conte, the former Tower Of Power horn player turned Balco PED distributor, who has either flipped sides or is doing a great job at working everyone to think he has.
Conte suggested that Biogenesis was selling various forms of testosterone and growth hormone including a fast-acting testosterone called troches. They were described as like Life Savers, digested through the mouth. The testosterone would be absorbed quickly, allowing testosterone to epi-testosterone levels (T:E ratio, which is the measurement used for the testing) to return back to normal (4:1).
In theory, a player could take several troches, go to sleep, and when he or she woke up, no testable traces of testosterone above normal levels would be found. If an athlete was tested early in the morning, they would pass the test as the traces would already be gone from body.
If you remember the Ryan Braun story from last year that we covered on this website, he actually failed a test and then got it overturned because of the chain of custody. I don’t know this to be true, but Conte hypothesized that if Braun was taking troches, he may have taken them too late in the evening, which caused his T:E ratio to be over the allowable 4-1 level by the time he was tested. He was linked to Biogenesis as well and this time, accepted a 65-game suspension which ends his season. He’s also lost several endorsements including with Nike.
Outside of Ryan Braun, none of the players on MLB’s list of players linked to the Biogenesis clinic have failed a drug test. They are suspended because of being linked to the clinic and the MLB feels that it has enough proof to suspend the players.
We are still currently waiting for Alex Rodriguez’s suspension sentence to come out because he seems to be appealing the punishment (rumored to be 200 plus games), but according to Ken Rosenthal, the MLB has suspended twelve players for 50 games each without a chance for appeal.
The two biggest names on the list are Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta. Both players are big parts of contending teams. They should be able to come back for the playoffs, if their teams make it. However, their teams may choose to not bring them back. Last year, Melky Cabrera was suspended and the San Francisco Giants determined that they wouldn’t activate him for the playoffs. It turns out they didn’t need him as they won the World Series without him.
Two players not suspended even though they were connected to the case were Bartolo Colon and the afore-mentioned Melky Cabrera. Both players served 50-game suspensions last year and will not have to serve more. Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez and Baltimore Orioles third baseman Danny Valencia were on the original lists of players connected to Biogenesis, but have been cleared of any wrong doing.
Here are the rest of the players suspended today:
– Antonio Bastardo, Phillies
– Everth Cabrera, Padres
– Francisco Cervelli, Yankees
– Nelson Cruz, Rangers
– Fautino De Los Santos, free-agent
– Sergio Escalona, Astros
– Fernando Martinez, Yankees
– Jesus Montero, Mariners
– Jordan Norberto, free-agent
– Jhonny Peralta, Tigers
– Cesar Puello, Mets
– Jordany Valdespin, Mets
We’ll update this post once the ARod suspension comes out.
Update: Alex Rodriguez’s suspension will carry through the end of this season and the entire 2014 season. He’s appealing the process and is scheduled to play today.