Baseball notebook: Gonzalez maintains he didn't use PEDs

2013-02-13T00:01:50Z Baseball notebook: Gonzalez maintains he didn't use PEDsThe Associated Press The Associated Press
February 13, 2013 12:01 am  • 

VIERA, Fla. -- Gio Gonzalez arrived at spring training with the Washington Nationals on Tuesday and maintained he has not used performance-enhancing drugs.

The Miami New Times reported last month that Gonzalez was among a half-dozen major league players listed as receiving PEDs in purported records of Biogenesis of America LLC, a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Fla. Gonzalez hopes to be exonerated.

"I feel very confident," the 27-year-old left hander said. "I think that at the end of the day I've never taken performance-enhancing drugs, and I never will."

Gonzalez, a 21-game winner last year, denied the allegations on Twitter on the day they were reported.

"You're stunned. You're shocked," he said Tuesday. "Your name has been brought up out of nowhere. You can't do nothing about it. You just have to wait it out and listen to what's going on. You can't jump the gun. You can't jump to conclusions. At the end of the day you just have to listen in and wait patiently."

Gonzalez said he had been contacted by Major League Baseball officials and has cooperated with their investigation. Gonzalez said he has "done everything that they want, and I feel strong with their program and what they're doing, and at the end of the day I'm waiting on them."

Gonzalez's father, Max, also was listed in the purported Biogenesis records.

"There's no connection for the fact that I say my father admitted that he was a patient there. A legitimate patient," the pitcher said. "And then after that, you know how my father is. ... All of south Florida, all of baseball knows that my father is the most proud father in baseball. He tells everyone about his son. And that's the best I can say. Other than that, I have no clue why my name was on that list, or on a notebook or anything."

Gonzalez doesn't want the allegations to be a distraction for his teammates.

"I'm going to do my best to keep it away from the locker room," he said. "I don't want any of this to be about me. Again, it's about the organization and it's about the team together."

Teammate Drew Storen said he isn't worried.

"Gio's a big part of this team, obviously. He's always been a big character guy for us," Storen said. "I think he'll continue to do that. He'll come in and be able to separate that stuff out. I think that's one of the things our clubhouse has been special for, we're able to cut out the outside factors. . I think we're going to be in good shape. Gio's a stand-up, character guy for us in this clubhouse. It's not going to change a thing."

Gonzalez said he plans to pitch for the United States in next month's World Baseball Classic following an invitation from manager Joe Torre. He figures to bolster a rotation missing David Price, Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver, Clayton Kershaw and Matt Cain.

Montero denies involvement with anti-aging clinic: Mariners catcher Jesus Montero on Tuesday again denied any involvement with a Florida-based anti-aging clinic under investigation by Major League Baseball.

According to a published report last week, Montero was named in records belonging to Biogenesis of America LLC, the now-closed clinic in Coral Gables, Fla., that has purportedly been linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Montero said he didn't know why his name popped up in the records.

"I don't have anything to do with those people. I know my agency is handling everything. I don't know anything about it," Montero said.

"I'm here trying to be ready for spring training and the season. What can I say? It surprised me, too," he added.

Montero also said his brother, who has the same first and last name, has nothing to do with the clinic. He's confident that his agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, will clear up the matter.

"I just want to focus on baseball," Montero said. "They're (agents) going to handle everything. .... I know I didn't do anything wrong."

Felix Hernandez and Seattle agree on new contract: Felix Hernandez and Seattle reached agreement Tuesday on a contract that is expected to make the Mariners ace the highest-paid pitcher in baseball.

"I think it's a great thing for the Seattle Mariners," Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "It's a great thing for Felix Hernandez, and looking forward to this guy being here for a very long time, obviously."

Hernandez's deal is expected to be for $175 million over seven years. Terms of the contract were not released by the team. Hernandez and Zduriencik will hold a news conference in Seattle this afternoon where Hernandez is expected to sign the contract.

Earlier Tuesday, Zduriencik said the sides were having significant talks to try to finalize a new contract for the three-time All-Star and 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner. Zduriencik said then that a deal of that magnitude in years and dollars, "takes time to work things out."

It didn't take too long. By the afternoon, Hernandez's deal was done and Seattle had its ace locked up through the 2019 season.

The new contract will encompass the final two years of his current deal that is scheduled to pay Hernandez $40.5 million in 2013 and 2014. He'll receive $134.5 million over the additional five years.

Hernandez's total dollars would top CC Sabathia's original $161 million, seven-year contract with the New York Yankees and his $25 million average would surpass Zack Greinke's $24.5 million under his new contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers and tie him for the second-highest in baseball with Josh Hamilton and Ryan Howard behind Alex Rodriguez ($27.5 million). Hernandez's new money would average $26.9 million over five years.

With Hernandez off the market, Detroit's Justin Verlander and the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw become the most attractive pitchers eligible for free agency after the 2014 season. Tampa Bay's David Price is eligible after the 2015 season.

Hernandez, who will turn 27 on April 8, is 98-76 with a 3.22 ERA in eight seasons with the Mariners.

A-Rod to rehab in New York, not at spring training: Alex Rodriguez will not report to spring training with the Yankees' position players and will work on his rehabilitation from hip surgery in New York. The third baseman is expected to be sidelined until at least the All-Star break following the Jan. 16 operation.

"I spoke to him last week. He was still barely, I think, on the crutches," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Tuesday during his opening spring-training remarks. "There's not a lot that he can do here."

The Miami New Times last month published records that allege Rodriguez purchased performance-enhancing substances in recent years from Biogenesis of America LLC, a now-closed clinic in Coral Gables, near Rodriguez's offseason home.

Rodriguez has denied the allegations. Four years ago, Rodriguez admitted using PEDs from 2001-03 while with the Texas Rangers.

"Him being in New York has nothing to do with trying to get rid of a distraction. It's the best place him for him to be."

Major League Baseball is investigating the New Times report and hopes to acquire the documents.

"MLB has to go through its steps before any of us are really going to be aware of anything," Girardi said. "I think you're always curious about things that you read about that are potentially damaging to your players and to baseball, of course. My concern is getting him healthy, and that's what I'll focus on. I think that's our team's focus, too."

New York signed former Boston third baseman Kevin Youkilis to fill in for Rodriguez. Girardi said that when Rodriguez is able to do more, his rehab situation will change.

"I think Alex had somewhat of a special surgery," the manager said. "It's not a hamstring. It's not something we've done a lot of, and we feel at this point the best place for him to be is New York, rehabbing under the doctor's supervision."

Yankees captain Derek Jeter is coming back from a more common operation, surgery on Oct. 20 to repair a broken left ankle sustained during the opener of the AL championship series against Detroit. The 38-year-old shortstop expects to be ready for the April 1 opener against Boston.

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