- T.J. Quinn, ESPN Staff Writer
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A Miami-area doctor under investigation by the DEA for possibly supplying Manny Ramirez with drug prescriptions issued a statement Friday saying he "never prescribed drugs of any kind whatsoever" to the Dodgers' outfielder.
The statement from Pedro Publio Bosch, 71, comes 15 days after an ESPN report that said investigators were looking into Bosch and his son, Anthony Bosch, 45, for their connection to Ramirez. Sources said Bosch allegedly provided Ramirez with a prescription for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is banned by baseball as a performance-enhancing drug.
Ramirez returned July 3 after a 50-game suspension.
"I consider the allegations of ESPN outrageous and slanderous, and issue this statement to correct the misrepresentations made by ESPN," said the statement, released by a Miami-area public relations firm. "First, Mr. Manny Ramirez is not, nor has he ever been my patient. I have never prescribed drugs of any kind whatsoever to Mr. Ramirez.
"Second, in my thirty-three years of practicing medicine in Coral Gables, Florida, I have never prescribed HCG, not to Mr. Manny Ramirez nor to anyone else."
Bosch's statement also said, "to the best of my knowledge there is no DEA investigation involving me in any matter whatsoever."
The existence of the investigation was confirmed, however, by both Major League Baseball and a federal law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
After being contacted by ESPN for the original story, MLB President Bob DuPuy issued a statement saying officials were "aware of the investigation, and our department of investigations is cooperating with the DEA."
ESPN issued a statement Friday, saying it "stands by the original story which reported Dr. Bosch is being investigated by the DEA."
Bosch's statement makes no reference to his son Anthony, who sources said is believed to have been a conduit between his father and Ramirez. Investigators would like to know whether the Boschs may have been connected to other athletes.
ESPN made several attempts to contact Pedro Bosch before publishing the story June 25, and although Bosch did not respond, a man who said he was Bosch's attorney contacted an ESPN reporter. After initially saying that he was not aware of the DEA's inquiry, the attorney, Don Jones, said he would consult with Bosch. Jones has not returned calls since that time. Anthony Bosch could not be reached for comment.
Ramirez's use of hCG was discovered almost accidentally, after he tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone during spring training. After the positive test, MLB requested medical records from Ramirez, which were turned over by MLB Players Association officials. Those records contaied the hCG prescription that led to Ramirez' suspension.
As ESPN first reported, Ramirez was also given a test that determined the excess testosterone in his body came from an outside source, but rather than suspend Ramirez for using a steroid, an action Ramirez was expected to fight, MLB decided that the proof Ramirez had hCG was sufficient to suspend him for 50 games, and Ramirez accepted his punishment.
HCG, commonly used as a fertility drug, is not an anabolic steroid, but boosts the body's natural testosterone production. It is commonly used by athletes and others coming off a steroid cycle.
Ramirez has not offered an explanation as to how he tested positive for elevated testosterone, and sources said they did not know whether the Boschs were connected to whatever drug Ramirez would have taken to cause the positive test.
T.J. Quinn is a reporter for ESPN's Enterprise Unit. He can be reached at email@example.com.
11hAndrew Marchand and Wallace Matthews