Just 24 hours removed from being blindsided by a steroid scandal involving Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez, Washingtonians are eager to hear how likely a suspension could be for the 21-game winner in the 2013 season.
According to the report out of Miami, the 27-year-old pitcher’s name appears five times on the client ledger of Miami-based Anthony Bosch, the head of the clinic being investigated for allegedly supplying performance-enhancing drugs.
In particular, Gio’s name surfaced in the 2012 notebook, specifying he purchased a muscle-building protein called Aminorip for $1,000, according to the report.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports told 106.7 The Fan’s Holden and Danny it doesn’t even matter that Gio never failed a drug test in 2012; that proving his culpability in the scandal is all Major League Baseball needs to suspend him for 50 games.
Other names brought up in the report include Nelson Cruz of the Rangers, Yasmani Grandal of the Padres and injured Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez.
“If Gio Gonzalez is connected in any way he can be suspended,” Heyman said. “He doesn’t have to have a failed test. If he bought anything illegal or took anything illegal, he’ll get that 50 game suspension.
Heyman said the reason baseball is more fervent about pursuing doping cases than other major sports because of how the sport values the record books, whereas in football, people tend to appreciate the in-game destruction more than the history.
“The records are very important in baseball. The awards are very important in baseball,” Heyman said. “And the PEDs have affected the records, the awards and the history of baseball. Football is more for everyday gamblers. They’re not breaking the records of Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron.”
Gio, who has adamantly denied the claims, still stands a good chance avoiding suspension even though “Major League Baseball has already begun investigating.
“The feds have thousands of people at their disposal,” Heyman said. “MLB has an office in New York. They don’t have hundreds of investigators, so it is a major hurdle that the feds are not as involved.”
He went on to explain however, that the report in the Miami New Times is so detailed – having even spoken with the other names on the list that aren’t ballplayers – that it’s provided the MLB with a perfect roadmap to explore its investigation.
“In this case, if you look at the story, they say it’s a three month investigation,” Heyman said. “Looking at it, I believe it. They tried contacting all the players. They gave it a week. Nobody said anything. Then the denials came afterward. That’s not a great sign.”
He did clarify that in the cases of Cruz and Gonzalez, they deserve to be viewed as innocent until proven guilty, considering they haven’t been tied to any prior PED investigations.
Gio vehemently denied the rumors Tuesday on Twitter.