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MLB interviewing players as part of drug probe

Published: Monday, July 6 2015 8:15 a.m. MDT

FILE - In this July 23, 2012, file photo, New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez watches a home run against the Seattle Mariners in a baseball game in Seattle. A person familiar with the case tells The Associated Press Tuesday June 4, 2013 that the founder of a Miami anti-aging clinic has agreed to talk to Major League Baseball about players linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera are among the players whose names have been tied to the clinic.   (Elaine Thompson, File, Associated Press) FILE - In this July 23, 2012, file photo, New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez watches a home run against the Seattle Mariners in a baseball game in Seattle. A person familiar with the case tells The Associated Press Tuesday June 4, 2013 that the founder of a Miami anti-aging clinic has agreed to talk to Major League Baseball about players linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera are among the players whose names have been tied to the clinic. (Elaine Thompson, File, Associated Press)

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball is interviewing players linked to a Miami anti-aging clinic that allegedly sold performance-enhancing drugs and has become the focus of the sport's investigation.

Clinic founder Anthony Bosch has agreed to talk with MLB, according to numerous reports, and union head Michael Weiner said Wednesday the commissioner's office has assured the union that "no decisions regarding discipline have been made or will be made until those interviews are completed."

"It would be unfortunate if anyone prejudged those investigations," Weiner said in a statement.

Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon are among more than a dozen players whose names have been tied to the now-closed clinic, Biogenesis of America.

"Every player has been or will be represented by an attorney from the players' association," Weiner said. "The players' association has every interest in both defending the rights of players and in defending the integrity of our joint (drug) program. We trust that the commissioner's office shares these interests."

FILE - in this April 1, 2013, file photo, New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, who is on the disabled list after hip surgery, talks to reporters outside the Yankees' clubhouse in New York. A person familiar with the case tells The Associated Press Tuesday June 4, 2013 that the founder of a Miami anti-aging clinic has agreed to talk to Major League Baseball about players linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera are among the players whose names have been tied to the clinic.  (Kathy Willens, File, Associated Press) FILE - in this April 1, 2013, file photo, New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, who is on the disabled list after hip surgery, talks to reporters outside the Yankees' clubhouse in New York. A person familiar with the case tells The Associated Press Tuesday June 4, 2013 that the founder of a Miami anti-aging clinic has agreed to talk to Major League Baseball about players linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera are among the players whose names have been tied to the clinic. (Kathy Willens, File, Associated Press)

MLB has been seeking Bosch's cooperation since Miami New Times reported in January that it obtained what it said were records detailing drug purchases by Rodriguez, Cabrera, Cruz and Colon. Yahoo Sports reported that Braun, the 2011 NL MVP, was mentioned in the records.

MLB sued Biogenesis and its operators in a Florida court in an attempt to pressure Bosch, and a person familiar with the case told The Associated Press on Tuesday night that Bosch has agreed to talk to MLB. The agreement between Bosch and MLB was first reported by ESPN.

Emil Infante, a lawyer who has made an appearance for Bosch in the Florida lawsuit, declined comment.

Once MLB interviews Bosch and the players, it will have to determine what penalties to impose.

Any suspensions for first offenders would be put on hold if the union files a grievance, a process that would put the matter in front of an arbitrator and delay possible sanctions for weeks or months. Second offenders would serve suspensions during the grievance process.

FILE - In this April 26, 2013 file photo, Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun gets ready to bat during a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles. A person familiar with the case tells The Associated Press Tuesday June 4, 2013 that the founder of a Miami anti-aging clinic has agreed to talk to Major League Baseball about players linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera are among the players whose names have been tied to the clinic.   (Jae C. Hong, File, Associated Press) FILE - In this April 26, 2013 file photo, Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun gets ready to bat during a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles. A person familiar with the case tells The Associated Press Tuesday June 4, 2013 that the founder of a Miami anti-aging clinic has agreed to talk to Major League Baseball about players linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera are among the players whose names have been tied to the clinic. (Jae C. Hong, File, Associated Press)

Baseball's drug agreement calls for a 50-game suspension for a first offense, 100 for a second and a lifetime ban for a third.

While most past suspensions have been for positive drug tests, the drug agreement prohibits players from using or possessing banned performance-enhancing substances and allows for discipline for "just cause."

Among the players linked to the clinic, Cabrera, Colon and San Diego catcher Yasmani Grandal already have served 50-game suspensions following positive tests for testosterone announced by MLB last year.

Most players have denied the Biogenesis link either directly or through spokesmen or lawyers.

Rodriguez admitted in 2009 that he used performance-enhancing drugs while with the Texas Rangers from 2001-03. As baseball's highest-paid player with a $28 million salary this year, he would lose $7.65 million during a 50-game ban.

Rodriguez, who turns 38 next month, has not played since hip surgery in January and is not expected to be available to the New York Yankees until after the All-Star break. The third baseman, a three-time AL MVP, has been working out since May at the team's minor league complex in Tampa, Fla.

FILE - This undated booking photo provided by the Miami-Dade Police Department, on Tuesday, Jan 29, 2013, shows Anthony Bosch. A person familiar with the case tells The Associated Press Tuesday June 4, 2013 that Anthony Bosch has agreed to talk to Major League Baseball about players linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera are among the players whose names have been tied to the clinic.   (Miami-Dade Police Department, File, Associated Press) FILE - This undated booking photo provided by the Miami-Dade Police Department, on Tuesday, Jan 29, 2013, shows Anthony Bosch. A person familiar with the case tells The Associated Press Tuesday June 4, 2013 that Anthony Bosch has agreed to talk to Major League Baseball about players linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera are among the players whose names have been tied to the clinic. (Miami-Dade Police Department, File, Associated Press)

In addition to Rodriguez, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli was linked to the clinic. Cervelli, currently on the DL because of a broken hand, said he consulted Biogenesis for a foot injury, but didn't receive any treatment.

"We'll let MLB handle everything and we don't really have a comment," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after Tuesday's 4-3 win over Cleveland.

Girardi said the Yankees still planned for Rodriguez to rejoin the team after the All-Star break. As for the drug cloud that has hovered over baseball for years, Girardi said: "I think we all had hoped we'd gotten through it. But obviously, we haven't."

Yankees outfielder Vernon Wells said it was too soon to draw conclusions.

"Everything right now is speculative," Wells said. "We can all sit here and wonder."

Braun failed a drug test in 2011, but his 50-game suspension was overturned by an arbitrator after the union filed a grievance and challenged the handling of his urine sample. Braun has acknowledged he was mentioned in Biogenesis records because his lawyers used Bosch as a consultant during the grievance.

After the Brewers' 4-3, 10-inning win over Oakland at Miller Park, the 2011 NL MVP said he was finished talking about the clinic.

"I've already addressed everything related to the Miami situation. I addressed it in spring training. I will not make any further statements about it," he said. "The truth has not changed."

Toronto Blue Jays' Melky Cabrera takes batting practice before a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 in San Francisco. Cabrera wants everyone to know just how sorry he is. Sorry for cheating, sorry for lying, sorry for letting down the San Francisco Giants and their supportive city. Cabrera returned to AT&T Park with Toronto on Tuesday night for the first time since receiving a 50-game suspension last Aug. 15 following a positive testosterone test. A person familiar with the case tells The Associated Press Tuesday June 4, 2013 that the founder of a Miami anti-aging clinic has agreed to talk to Major League Baseball about players linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera are among the players whose names have been tied to the clinic.   (Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press) Toronto Blue Jays' Melky Cabrera takes batting practice before a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 in San Francisco. Cabrera wants everyone to know just how sorry he is. Sorry for cheating, sorry for lying, sorry for letting down the San Francisco Giants and their supportive city. Cabrera returned to AT&T Park with Toronto on Tuesday night for the first time since receiving a 50-game suspension last Aug. 15 following a positive testosterone test. A person familiar with the case tells The Associated Press Tuesday June 4, 2013 that the founder of a Miami anti-aging clinic has agreed to talk to Major League Baseball about players linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera are among the players whose names have been tied to the clinic. (Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press)

Braun said the speculation hasn't affected him on the field.

"No, of course not. I've dealt with this for two years now. I'm pretty good at avoiding distractions," he said.

AP Baseball Writer Ben Walker and AP Legal Affairs Writer Curt Anderson contributed to this report.

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