Daily Distractions: Several major-leaguers implicated in PED report; Suck, Schmidt and Sax.

Manny Ramirez

Manny Ramirez’s HCG supplier, Tony Bosch, has a long list of clients in professional sports, according to a report today in the Miami New Times. (AP photo)

Just in case a small patch of your thick skin still hasn’t numbed to the idea that some professional athletes use performancing-enhancing drugs, the Miami New Times reported today that Alex Rodriguez, Yasmani Grandal, Gio Gonzalez, Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon and Nelson Cruz are listed as clients of a Miami clinic that distributes illegal PEDs.

Rodriguez and Gonzalez – whose father did admit to purchasing weight-loss products from the clinic – have already denied any connection to the clinic’s former proprietor, Tony Bosch.

Major League Baseball will have the final say. The league is investigating the matter and suspensions could be levied if the apparent PED use can be proven. Cabrera, Colon and Grandal were all suspended 50 games for violating MLB’s drug policy at some point last year. Gonzalez, Rodriguez and Cruz have never been penalized for PED use.

Regardless of the outcome, this story represents another wrinkle in the never-ending game of cat and mouse that exists among athletes seeking an edge, the PED suppliers who enable them, and the sports and government authorities charged with policing this activity.

Even if you’re numb to this plot, give it a read. The level of journalism is excellent, and there’s tremendous value in weeding out another hub for illegal drug distribution – regardless of whether the clientele is famous or not.

There is a Dodgers connection. You might recall Bosch’s name from 2010, when Manny Ramirez was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball for testing positive for the women’s fertility drug HCG. Bosch’s clinic was the supplier of Ramirez’s HCG.

As the author, Tim Elfrink, concludes: “Indeed, there are two patterns to the names of athletes in Bosch’s records: (1) Most have direct ties to Miami and often to the UM Hurricanes baseball program, and (2) a number have already been caught doping — which suggests that either Bosch isn’t particularly gifted at crafting drugs that can beat performance tests or his clients aren’t careful.”

Onto the links:

• ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark ranks Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford as two of the five (well, technically eight) most important injury comebacks of 2013. Remember this quote: “He’s not just an X factor for me,” one scout says of Crawford. “He’s a capital X factor. Not many guys have had multiple health issues like he’s had, with Tommy John and the wrist problem. And they’re counting heavily on this guy. To me, he’s a huge part of the puzzle, with all the money they’ve invested in him and this team.”

Via Bryan Grosnick’s Bloguin page, the longest-tenured players with each MLB team based on their major-league debut. For the Dodgers, it’s Andre Ethier. For the Astros, it’s former Dodgers prospect Wesley Wright. And only four players have been with their current team since the 1990s. Can you name them?

• Happy birthday, Tony Suck, Jason Schmidt and Steve Sax.

Nick Johnson retired yesterday after an injury-plagued, 12-year major league career, which should only come as good news to Dodger fans. Johnson crushed the Dodgers to a .415/.483/.792 career clip – a 1.276 OPS that was his highest against any opponent. In 14 head-to-head games against the Dodgers, Johnson had 42 total bases.

• In NL West news: Freddy Garcia signed a minor-league contract with the Padres. He’ll make a base salary of $1.3 million and can earn $1.25 million in incentives, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported. Garcia, 36, was 7-6 with a 5.20 ERA for the New York Yankees last season. He stands a fair shot in San Diego, where 15 different pitchers started a game last season – one of whom will miss the first month of the season recovering from a hunting accident — and only Tyson Ross (2-11 in Oakland last year) was added besides Garcia.

• Speaking of Padres pitchers, Dirk Hayhurst has a new book out.

• Jamie-Lynn Sigler is engaged to Lenny Dykstra’s son.

• Some of you will automatically associate Alex Rodriguez with steroids; no amount of home runs will change that. Likewise, some of you will automatically associate Amy Winehouse with drug and alcohol abuse. As for me, I’ll think of the acoustic version of “Wake Up Alone,” more spine-tingling than any A-Rod moonshot:

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