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Originally published Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 7:07 PM

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Electronic trail led to baseball drug penalties

Major League Baseball’s investigators used an arsenal of high-tech tools to collect the evidence that persuaded a dozen players to accept 50-game suspensions.

The Associated Press

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NEW YORK — Facebook friends. Transcripts of BlackBerry instant messages. Records of texts.

Major League Baseball’s investigators used an arsenal of high-tech tools to collect the evidence that persuaded a dozen players to accept 50-game suspensions this week for their ties to the Biogenesis clinic.

And when it came time to meet with the players’ association, they flashed some of their documentary proof. While there was not enough time for the union to thoroughly examine what baseball had collected, there was little doubt there was an electronic trail, one person familiar with the meetings said.

“It both complicates things and adds a layer of proof that certainly wasn’t available many years ago,” union general counsel David Prouty said Tuesday.

Alex Rodriguez, the lone holdout against a suspension, faces an arbitration hearing that likely will include such evidence. The New York Yankees third baseman was suspended through the 2014 season, though he is allowed to play until a decision is issued by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, probably not before November.

Notes

• Rodriguez’s return to the field was good for TV ratings. Monday’s Yankees-White Sox game drew the YES Network’s highest rating this year for a Yankees game, with 393,000 viewers and a 4.34 rating.

Ryan Lavarnway of the Red Sox became only the third catcher in major-league history with four passed balls in one inning. He had trouble handling knuckleballer Steven Wright, who made his big-league debut against the Astros.

• Cleveland’s colorful closer, Chris Perez, has closed out local media after his blown save Monday night. “I’m not talking the rest of the year,” he said. “Quit asking.”

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