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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Pregame: Dodgers at Braves

Tonight’s lineups for the 4:35 P.M. start at Turner Field:

Dodgers
Furcal, SS
Ethier, RF
Ramirez, LF
Blake, 3B
Loney, 1B
Kemp, CF
Martin, C
Hudson, 2B
Schmidt, P

Braves
McLouth, CF
Johnson, 2B
Jones, 3B
McCann, C
Anderson, LF
Canizares, 1B (replacing Casey Kotchman, who was dealt today to the Red Sox for A. LaRoche)
Diaz, RF
Hernandez, SS
Hanson, P

George Sherrill will be available to make his Dodgers debut tonight.

Postgame: Marlins 8, Dodgers 6

The Marlins beat the Dodgers 8-6 today to win the weekend series. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

Jason Schmidt was completely ineffective, allowing five runs in 3+ plus innings and earning the loss. Long reliever Jeff Weaver didn’t get the job done either, allowing three runs of his own in 3 innings. That put the Dodgers in a 8-0 hole.

.The Dodgers put up four runs in the sixth and two more in the ninth, but couldn’t rally all the way back. They put up 13 hits to the Marlins’ 11.

Spots 2-6 in the Dodgers order — Orlando Hudson, Andre Ethier, James Loney, and Kemp — went 9-for-18. Loney had 3 RBI.

ETC…ETC:

Manny Ramirez had the day off with a sore left hand and didn’t pinch hit. Juan Pierre replaced him, batting ninth, and went 1-for-4.

Marlins starter Chris Volstad shut the Dodgers down through five innings, but he ran into trouble quickly in the sixth. A two-run homer by Russell Martin sent Fredi Gonzalez to the mound to pull him.

A ninth-inning rally that brought in two runs fell short when Matt Kemp popped out on a Leo Nunez fastball to end the game.

ON DECK:

Randy Wolf (5-4, 3.45) and Chris Carpenter (8-3, 2.26) face off in St. Louis tomorrow as the Dodgers face a Cardinals team featuring new acquisition Matt Holliday.