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.
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.
Last month, Major League Baseball sued Biogenesis and its operators, accusing them of scheming to provide banned PEDs to players in violation of their contracts.
The lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court seeks unspecified damages from Biogenesis and its operator, Anthony Bosch. Several other Bosch associates are named in the lawsuit.
Among the banned drugs supplied, the lawsuit said, are testosterone, human growth hormone and human chorionic gonadotropin.
Baseball officials also unsuccessfully lobbied New Times editors to share the documents that formed the basis of their story.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.