Major League Baseball has taken an unprecedented step in the Biogenesis of America investigation, paying a former employee of the South Florida anti-aging clinic linked to performance-enhancing drugs for documents on athletes named in the case, the New York Times reported Thursday night.
The move, according to the newspaper, came after at least one player linked to the clinic bought documents from a former employee there in order to destroy them. The Times, citing two unidentified people briefed on the matter, reported other players connected to the now-shuttered clinic have attempted to do the same in order to keep the potentially incriminating documents away from the league.
In January, the Miami New Times, an alternative weekly newspaper, reported that New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez was among the big leaguers listed in Biogenesis' records.
New Times said it obtained records detailing purchases by Rodriguez, 2012 All-Star Game MVP Melky Cabrera, 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon and 2011 AL Championship Series MVP Nelson Cruz.
Other baseball players the newspaper said appeared in the records include Gio Gonzalez and Yasmani Grandal. Later, Yahoo! Sports reported that 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun's name also appeared in the records.
The players have denied they obtained banned drugs from the clinic that operated out of an office park in Coral Gables, Fla.
According to the New York Times, MLB felt like it needed to purchase the documents from the former Biogenesis employee because at least one player was attempting to do the same.
League officials decided to take the unusual step of paying for the documents because, with no subpoena power, its investigators likely would have no access to the material if it wound up in the players' hands, the newspaper reported.
In addition, the New York Times reported that the league has paid former employees of the clinic for cooperating in its case. The amounts paid in each case did not exceed several thousand dollars, the Times said.
A spokesman for MLB denied comment to the newspaper, citing the league's ongoing investigation.