Cesar Puello Linked to Biogenesis

The Biogenesis story is getting bigger — and it now includes a player on the Mets’ 40-man roster.

ESPN uncovered five more names of pro baseball players who were clients of the anti-aging facility: San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, reliever Jordan Norberto of the Oakland A’s; former Met and current Astro Fernando Martinez; Padres reliever Fautino De Los Santos; and Mets outfield prospect Cesar Puello.

An interesting addendum to the story is that all five players are either current or former clients of ACES, the sports agency owned by brothers Seth and Sam Levinson. Out of the 25 players so far named in the Biogenesis scandal, 10 are or were connected to ACES — most of whom worked with Juan Carlos Nunez, a player liaison for ACES. Nunez is the knucklehead who built the bogus website for Melky Cabrera and was banned from MLB as a result.

In related news, it was “discovered” that Gio Gonzalez did not purchase any banned substances from Biogenesis, thereby clearing him of any wrongdoing. Hmm … really? From the ESPN story:

According to two sources familiar with Bosch’s operation, however, the Washington Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez, previously identified as being named in Biogenesis documents, did not receive banned substances from Bosch or the clinic.

Both sources, speaking independently, identified Gonzalez as the only Bosch client named thus far who did not receive performance-enhancing drugs. A document obtained by “Outside the Lines” bolsters their case: On a computer printout of clients, Gonzalez, identified by the code name “Gladiator,” is said to have received $1,000 worth of substances, but under “notes” are several substances not banned by Major League Baseball: “gluthetyn” (which a source said was a misspelling of glutathione), “IM [intramuscular] shots” and amino acids.

Glutathione is an anti-oxidant, and one source said the “IM shots” Gonzalez received were “MICs,” a medically dubious but legal combination of methionine, inositol and choline, often used for weight loss.

Color me skeptical. It seems far too convenient that two sources suddenly tell ESPN that Gonzalez was the only player who didn’t receive banned PEDs. Did someone pay someone off to “leak” that info? There are several issues that bother me about this new epiphany. First, if Gonzalez purchased legal substances, then why is he denying it? The best explanation is that the substances were for his father. OK, I can buy that — though, it doesn’t explain why Gio’s name was in the notebook, along with his dad’s name (Max). Second, why is Gio using a code name (“Gladiator”) to purchase the substances? I suppose the alias could simply have come from Bosch, but why? Maybe to protect the player’s privacy? That’s fair. But then there is issue #3: why is Gio Gonzalez going to some shady clinic to purchase substances from someone posing as a pseudo-doctor? Oh, that’s right — Gio never met Tony Bosch; it was his dad who went to the clinic and sought Bosch’s advice.

Oh, but then there is that connection between Bosch and Jimmy Goins — who is Gio’s strength coach. Not to mention the fact there were 24 other pro ballplayers purchasing PEDs from Bosch.

Each point of Gio’s story has a fairly valid explanation. The problem is when you add it all up, it looks bad — not just for Gio Gonzalez, but for baseball.

We are all tired of hearing and talking about PEDs in baseball — but that doesn’t mean we should stop. It’s not the media’s fault that they keep uncovering garbage like this — it’s the fault of MLB players, owners, and league officials for sticking their collective heads in the sand on the issue of PEDs and not keeping their own house clean. Initiating PEDs testing was a first step in the right direction, but it was far from the solution. It matters not whether MLB has the “toughest anti-PEDs policy in professional sports” if a significant number of players are still cheating the system.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Walnutz15 February 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm
    This just in, Fernando Martinez pulled a finger.

    **FART**

  2. friend February 20, 2013 at 5:08 pm
    Going to extremes, to create an impression, that something which should probably be obvious, is instead, not happening at all, seems to be very deeply ingrained in baseball culture. Witness the recent admission by Pedro Martinez, that if you were hit by one of his pitches, there was a 90% chance that it was intentional.
  3. Izzy February 20, 2013 at 6:35 pm
    Your last paragraph hits the nail on the head. But most reporters and reptrts, anxious to tell the names are missing the bigger story. If even half these guys are using illegal stuff then the MLB drug testing program, which Selig and the rest of baseball self proclaim to be the best anywhere, is a total failure. Of all these names how many failed a test, 2 or 3!!!!!!! I understand stuff leaves your system. But if the “greatest” is not done enough to catch most guys the system FAILS!!! Whether Gio took or not is a side light story.
    • Joe Janish February 20, 2013 at 9:54 pm
      Thanks, Iz.

      And further to your point, how many more of these “anti-aging clinics” exist throughout the USA, and are being visited by pro ballplayers? The only reason this particular one was found was because of Gio’s “strength coach.”

      Just like BALCO couldn’t have been the only designer-steroid lab in the country, I bet Biogenesis is just the tip of the iceberg.

  4. AC Wayne February 20, 2013 at 11:01 pm
    I clicked the ESPN link and scrolled down, did you see the picture of Puello? guy looks like a linebacker! as for Gio, Braun, A-Rod, come on, something’s fishy, Bosch wasn’t even a doctor, these guys are adults, you’re telling me that all these players sincerely walked into that clinic and walked out of there convinced they had just had an appointment with an M.D., I am so sick of all this PED talk, not just in baseball but throughout all sports, you think MLB is bad, just wait until the NFL starts their testing, I wouldn’t be surprised if half of those NFL players are on some sort of PED, BIGGER, FASTER, STRONG!!!
    • Izzy February 21, 2013 at 6:32 am
      The NFL does test, and the penalty is 4 games if you are caught. 25% of the season, less thanbaseball. The difference is that when a football player is caught, the public doesn’t seem to care at all. The NBA also tests as does tennis who never catches anyone, and I’m sure most sports test. The programs all have one thing in common . hardly anyone fails a test in any sport. Colleges test and the failure rate is virtually zero. Think all those professional dreamers are 100% clean!!!!!!!! Its not going away. The testing programs are failing. They are good PR, that’s all.
      • AC Wayne February 21, 2013 at 8:03 pm
        I know for sure that the NFL has a list of banned substances but not sure if they test for HGH, yet
  5. Walnutz15 February 21, 2013 at 9:53 am
    So many of ‘em are on prescribed anabolics, regardless. Just goes to show how naive and clueless the general sports fan is about the world of athletics — it’s almost as if some of ‘em have never picked up a ball in their lives.
  6. Jon C February 21, 2013 at 10:26 am
    Personally I’m sick of the issue and I’m at the point where I almost don’t care anymore. I think the ONLY reason a substance should be banned is if it is proven to be harmful to a person’s health. The sad part of this is not PED use in professional sports, but young athletes at the collegiate and even high school level who could be ruining their lives.

    I don’t even know what cheating is anymore with current technology. So one guy blows out his arm, goes to a doctor, and gets surgically implanted with another person’s ligaments. And we accept that this is ok, using another person’s body parts is not cheating. Another guy goes and gets deer antler spray or whatever the new substance is, and heals his elbow a hundred times faster, but this is bad. Whats the difference? How many other “legal” medicines and healing agents are out there which are “ok”?

    As a sports fan we are in a tough spot, but for me I think we just have to accept that things have evolved. People feel offended that it hurts the spirit of the game, and that maybe you can’t compare players from one generation to another anymore. But there has always been some form of cheating or gaming the system, there have been many rules changes that have effected player performance, and players today are just better trained and start training at a younger age to learn the fundamentals of the sport. As much as people want to compare babe ruth to barry bonds for example, they played in completely separate eras, and it was never a fair comparison even before all the PEDs came in to play. If you sent david wright back in time to play in babe ruths league, david would easily be thought of as the greatest baseball player of all time. Heck, Lucas Duda might be the greatest baseball player of all time. Athletes today are just better regardless of PEDs.

    So I don’t see a legitimate reason to ban anything other than that which is proven harmful to a person’s health. It will be interesting to see how some of the steroid-era guys being to age. If they start falling apart early, that will the strongest deterrent to young athletes to avoid these things, for their own health.

    If you’ve come this far, sorry for the rambling, I guess I should leave the writing to the professionals :P

    • Joe Janish February 21, 2013 at 11:22 pm
      We’re all sick of hearing about it, but we need to continue to care about it, because of what you stated:

      “The sad part of this is not PED use in professional sports, but young athletes at the collegiate and even high school level who could be ruining their lives.”

      That’s the crux of the matter — kids and young men who want to play pro ball might think they need to take PEDs because “everyone else is doing it.” Baseball was the one sport that was never like that until fairly recently — it was a sport filled with people who looked ordinary (in comparison to the gargantuan beasts playing football and basketball). It’s a sport in which one can be accomplished and successful via technique and smarts, with less reliance on brawn. But somehow that notion went out the window when MLB got homerun-happy and lazy scouts began relying on the radar gun. It wasn’t that long ago that a baseball player could be under 6′ tall and valued for his ability to turn the double play and lay down a bunt. I get that today’s game demands better athletes but they don’t need to be freaks of nature, gambling their long-term health for a few years of drug-enhanced performance.

      But I guess that’s what happens when there are millions of dollars at stake; greed brings out the ugliest of human nature.

      • Jon C February 22, 2013 at 12:34 pm
        thanks for your response joe

        maybe if the focus of the discussion in the media was changed to how this is harmful to youth, educating coaches of young players to be aware of signs of ped use, etc., we would get more accomplished than focusing on who was using when. Young athletes following this ongoing story in baseball for example see that if you want to become of one of the best players, gotta use peds!

        just an idea

  7. Dan B February 21, 2013 at 1:59 pm
    Speaking of NY Mets outfielders, I just read on MLB Trade Rumors that the highest paid NY Met outfielder this season is Bobby Bonila and his deferred money.