Major League Baseball on Sunday responded to statements by Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and the MLB Players Association regarding a televised interview with Anthony Bosch, who ran the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in Florida that has been linked to Rodriguez.
Rodriguez's 211-game suspension was shortened to cover the 2014 season and postseason by independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz on Saturday. In an interview with Scott Pelley on Sunday night on the CBS News program "60 Minutes," Bosch claimed Rodriguez used multiple performance-enhancing drugs purchased from Bosch and had Bosch inject him with the drugs on occasion.
MLB responded to the union's statement of disagreement with MLB's involvement in the program -- Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB's chief operating officer, Rob Manfred, appeared on the show along with Bosch and Rodriguez's lawyer, Joe Tacopina -- with a brief statement of its own. MLB began with the declaration that the league has been consistent in responding to "attacks on the integrity of our Joint Drug Program."
"Those attacks continued yet again yesterday with Mr. Rodriguez's statement. Out of respect to the grievance process and at the request of the MLBPA, we waited until a decision was rendered to make our response.
"It is ironic that the MLBPA is complaining about MLB's participation in this program given that Mr. Rodriguez's lawyer is also participating in the show.
"As to Mr. Bosch's appearance, he is not controlled by us and is entitled to speak however he chooses about his interactions with Mr. Rodriguez."
On "60 Minutes," Bosch told Pelley he provided and sometimes administered several performance-enhancing drugs to Rodriguez, who was using the substances in an attempt to become the only Major League player to ever hit 800 career home runs and paid $12,000 in cash per month for the drugs.
"Alex is scared of needles, so at times he would ask me to inject," said Bosch, who said Rodriguez used testosterone, insulin growth factor 1, human growth hormone and different forms of peptides.
"Alex cared. Alex wanted to know. He would study the product," Bosch said. "He would study the substance. He would study the dosage. Because he wanted to achieve all his human-performance, or, in this case, sports-performance objectives. But the most important one was the 800-home run club, which was only going to have one member: Alex Rodriguez."
Bosch added that Rodriguez would use PEDs right before games, taking something called a "gummy" that would be undetectable after the games.
"They're so small that you could literally, while sitting in the dugout, take it," Bosch said. "People would think it was sunflower seeds or a piece of candy, or a piece of gum for that matter. Now, all of a sudden, his levels of testosterone are higher. It gives him more energy. It gives him more strength. It gives him more focus. And in combination with the growth hormone, that combination would make playing the game of baseball a lot easier."
When asked why Rodriguez trusted Bosch, who said in the interview that he would exchange text messages written in code to conduct business with the three-time American League MVP, Bosch said because he was good at what he did.
"I had a track record," Bosch said. "I had been doing this for many years. If you had the knowledge that I had, the experience that I had, and you know the truth about the testing and the flaws, it was almost a cakewalk, actually."
Selig appeared on "60 Minutes" and reiterated that he felt the original 211-game penalty "fit what I saw was the evidence."
"As I looked at everything on all the players, then I got to Alex Rodriguez," Selig said. "You put all the drug things on one side and then all the things he did to impede our investigation and really do things I had never seen any other player do. ... I think 211 games was a very fair penalty."
Rodriguez was defiant in his Saturday statement, denying any PED use and saying he would appeal Horowitz's decision in federal court, if necessary.
On Sunday, the union sent out a statement objecting to "MLB's decision to appear on '60 Minutes' and to authorize Tony Bosch's appearance on '60 Minutes.'"
The MLBPA said it was troubled by the fact that the appearance of Bosch and Selig on the program amounted to a "rush to the media" on the league's part in an attempt to "publicly pile-on against Alex Rodriguez," that players were angered by the situation, and that it would consider legal options to "remedy any breaches committed by MLB."
Manfred gave more background into MLB's investigation on the program, explaining that he hired more than 30 investigators and paid $125,000, in two installments, to a "gentleman who identified himself only as Bobby" who was in possession of the Biogenesis documents.
"We were eyes wide open with respect to the questions that would surround these documents in terms of authenticating them in any legal proceeding, making sure they hadn't been doctored," said Manfred, who told Pelley that he met directly with Bosch last May 9.
"He was fidgety," Manfred said of Bosch at the meeting. "Nervous. Uncomfortable. His principal concern from the very beginning was his personal safety. He told us there had been threats on his life. We knew from our own investigation, and this was a great cause of concern to us, that there were individuals in this web of people that surrounded Biogenesis that had criminal records and that, by reputation, were dangerous."
Rodriguez's attorney appeared on "60 Minutes" and called Bosch's claims "laughable."
"Aside from all his credibility issues, his past lies, the fact that he has all the motive in the world to help Major League Baseball because it will help him get out of a massive criminal prosecution as they promised to do, just look to the science," Tacopina said. "Science defies Tony Bosch. It's Tony Bosch's word uncorroborated by anything, and of course, science."
Manfred said the documents backed up Bosch.
"I think that Mr. Bosch's credibility on these issues -- whatever his motivation, whatever we did for him -- was established by his willingness to come in, raise his right hand, testify," Manfred told Pelley. "And by the fact that he had all sorts of evidence that supported everything that he said."
"I think the most important thing to remember is that for the first time in the history of the Joint Drug Agreement, the player accused of wrongdoing did not take the stand in his own defense. So whatever Mr. Rodriguez has said publicly, the fact of the matter is that the evidence of the case contains no denial from Mr. Rodriguez."