How Alex Rodriguez could become a Dodger.

Alex Rodriguez

What does Alex Rodriguez’s reported PED connection mean for his future with the Yankees? (AP Photo)

Alex Rodriguez was one of several major-leaguers linked to a Miami PED distributor in a report today by the Miami New Times. At least so far, he’s the only player whose team is attempting to void his contract as a result.

From MLBTradeRumors.com:

The Yankees are exploring multiple avenues to void their contract with Alex Rodriguez, several baseball sources told ESPNNewYork.com’s Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand.

The three-time American League MVP is owed $114MM over the next five seasons. An industry source says the Yankees “are looking at about 20 different things,” including whether A-Rod breached the contract by taking medical treatment from an outside doctor without the team’s authorization, and the possibility that he may have broken the law by purchasing controlled substances from the clinic.

If the Yankees do take action to 86 the remainder of the third baseman’s deal, they can’t do anything until the MLB investigation is concluded, according to a source.  For his part, Rodriguez has issued a statement denying the allegations.

If his contract is voided, could Rodriguez find his way to Chavez Ravine?

First, that’s a big “if.”

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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:

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Poll: Who should play third base?

Luis Cruz doesn’t plan on playing third base the when he suits up for the Culiacan Tomateros of the Mexican Winter League. “Probably,” he said Monday at Dodger Stadium, “second base, outfield.”

Luis  CruzIs this a sign that Dodgers are trying to turn their emerging everyday third baseman into a utility player? Hardly.

“I try to play the position I didn’t play in the States,” Cruz said. “It’s better for me so I can play more positions. … In winter ball I like to play one game at third, one game at second base, then if they ask me to go play the outfield in the middle of the game, I go to the outfield.”

It’s a nice plan if it works in Cruz’s favor, which it did last year. The Dodgers used him mostly in the outfield in spring training, Cruz did well, and when he got off to a hot start for Triple-A Albuquerque, he got called up and became a fixture at third — the Dodgers’ greatest position of need, not Cruz’s primary position in Albuquerque.

This season, it’s a different story. Continue reading