In the news:
Mariners' Jesus Montero says he has no idea why his name showed up in documents from Florida clinic
A report published Wednesday by The New York Daily News lists Mariners catcher Jesus Montero as a client of an anti-aging clinic in South Florida that has been the focus of an investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Seattle Times staff reporters
PEORIA, Ariz. — Mariners catcher Jesus Montero said Wednesday he has "no clue" how his name ended up in documents belonging to the South Florida anti-aging clinic Biogenesis.
"What can I tell you? I have no idea," Montero said. "Like I said, I have no clue what happened. I feel like I'm caught in the middle of something and I don't know why."
The Seattle Times interviewed Montero at the Mariners' spring training complex in Peoria, where he is working out with teammates in preparation for the start of spring training next week.
The New York Daily News reported Wednesday that Montero is named in records from Biogenesis, said to be a haven for those wanting to acquire performance-enhancing drugs.
The clinic, run by Anthony Bosch, has since been shuttered. But it's been the focus of increased investigation from MLB and federal officials the past week-plus, since a report in the Miami New Times linked it as a supply point for PEDs given to Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera and other players. Montero said he has never been a client of the clinic, or of Bosch.
"I don't even know who he is," he said. "I've never heard of him."
Until Wednesday morning, that is.
That's when Montero got a call from his agent telling him his name had popped up in stories linked to the clinic.
Montero said he only went to the Miami area to visit family members and has never lived or trained there. He said he knew A-Rod from his time in the Yankees' farm system but only took verbal advice from him and never bought supplements through him or any teammates.
"He used to give advice on how to be a major league player, how to work hard and do your best at the top level," Montero said of Rodriguez. "So, I listened to him. Of course I listened to him, he's a great player. Why wouldn't I listen? We all did."
When The Seattle Times spoke to Montero about 10:30 a.m. PST, he said nobody from the Mariners or MLB had contacted him about Wednesday's story as of yet.
Pat Courtney, a spokesman for MLB, said: "We do have an ongoing investigation in South Florida, and any names connected will be vigorously investigated."
The Mariners said they were aware of the report, but had no comment until an investigation is concluded.
They issued the following official response:
"The Seattle Mariners strongly support Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, and are disappointed any time we hear of any players potentially involved with banned substances.
"We are aware of the report which appeared today in the New York Daily News and have been in contact with Major League Baseball to discuss it.
"This matter is now in the hands of the Commissioner's Office. At this time, with no additional information, we will have no further comment until that investigation has concluded, and all other questions should be directed to Major League Baseball."
The Mariners apparently were told that Montero's name appeared in clinic documents, in a letter sent to them by the Miami New Times seeking comment before publication of their original article. The New Times article had no mention of Montero. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik declined to comment when asked if he had received the letter.
Montero said his agent told him he'd try to get to the bottom of The New York Daily News report. The report mentions that Montero is named in clinic documents, but there is no link between him and any PEDs in the paperwork.
"My agent told me just to relax, to come here and to play baseball," Montero said. "That's why I'm here. To play baseball, to improve and to be a starting catcher in the big leagues. I can't do anything about my name coming up on the Internet. All I can do is play baseball."
Montero is a client of Brooklyn-based agents Sam and Seth Levinson and their ACES agency, which has been the subject of an MLB probe ever since their client, Cabrera, tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone and was suspended for 50 games.
Seth Levinson released the following statement on Wednesday afternoon:
"Anyone who knows us, knows that it is absolutely ridiculous to think that we would ever condone the use of performance enhancing drugs. Our work over the last 25 years demonstrates that ACES is built on a foundation of honesty, integrity, and doing things the right way. Neither Sam nor I, or anyone else at ACES, have ever met or even heard of Anthony Bosch until the recent news stories, nor does anyone have any knowledge of or connection to Biogenesis. Moreover, Juan Nunez ceased doing work on behalf of the agency as soon as his involvement in the Melky Cabrera matter came to light. The MLBPA's investigation into that matter found that we had no involvement in or knowledge of any wrongdoing. Similarly, in this case, we are not involved and do not have any knowledge as to what took place or who was allegedly involved."
The Nunez reference is to a former ACES associate who allegedly executed an unsuccessful plan to avoid a suspension for Cabrera by creating, according to the Daily News, "a fictitious website for a supplement he claimed had inadvertently caused him to test positive."
Jamie Appel, the agent with ACES who handles Montero, declined to comment Wednesday morning when reached by The Seattle Times.
There is no specific mention of PEDs and Montero in the documents. The original news report about Biogenesis only mentioned players who were named in conjunction with PEDs by documents recovered from the clinic. Since then, other names have surfaced, including former National League MVP Ryan Braun.
Montero has a younger brother who is also named Jesus Montero, a catcher in the Cardinals' farm system. Seattle's Montero is Jesus Alejandro Montero, while the Cardinals' player is Jesus Rafael Montero.
"We call him Montero Junior in the office," Appel told The Seattle Times last January, speaking of the younger brother.