This story has been corrected. Read below
Major League Baseball is investigating multiple wellness clinics in South Florida, as well as individuals with potential ties to players, armed with the belief that the region stretching 50 miles south from Boca Raton to Miami is "ground zero" for performance-enhancing drugs still filtering into the game.
"Outside the Lines" has learned that MLB security officials have spent considerable time in South Florida since last summer, monitoring clinics believed to be linked to the sale of human growth hormone and testosterone to players. MLB officials hope law enforcement will subpoena clinic records to determine whether players received illegal and banned substances.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is working with MLB, which declined comment Saturday, but it is unclear whether subpoenas have already been issued, and sources close to the investigation said a direct link to players has yet to be found. The investigation is tedious because of the involvement of potentially multiple agencies, plus the fly-by-night nature of questionable clinics, which have been known to shut down and reopen under new names as a means of staying ahead of the law.
One clinic under investigation is operated by Anthony Bosch, a self-described biochemist who most recently ran Biogenesis of America in Coral Gables. He long has had ties to the loosely regulated South Florida wellness industry, which pitches the promise of drugs to turn the scrawny to muscular and bring vitality to the tired and aged. ESPN reported in 2009 that Bosch, whose father, Dr. Pedro Publio Bosch, is a Coral Gables physician, wrote a prescription for a substance that led to the suspension for baseball star Manny Ramirez -- an outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers at the time.
Bosch's clinic has not opened since the beginning of the year. Another nearby clinic operated by a former Bosch associate shut down completely in early December, "Outside the Lines" has learned. Bosch, 48, resurfaced on MLB's radar about six month ago.
Because of the number of clinics, the MLB investigation is looking into several potential drug suppliers or networks, not a single source. The ongoing investigation could take well into the upcoming baseball season to complete, sources said, and officials remain unclear of the number of players that eventually may be involved.
Bosch is well-known in Latin American baseball circles. He operates from a base in South Florida, where wellness clinics pitch growth hormone treatments and testosterone injections, and legions of pro baseball players live and train every offseason.
His relationships with players date back at least a decade. He has attended parties with players and procured tickets to big league ballparks, especially in Boston and New York. He traveled to Kansas City during last summer's All-Star Game break. He was seen in a popular Coral Gables nightspot after the 2011 season with Melky Cabrera, who was suspended by baseball last season after a positive drug test.
At least one former medical colleague told "Outside the Lines" that Bosch bragged of having treated Major League Baseball players.
The elder Bosch allegedly prescribed to Ramirez the drug hCG, human chorionic gonadotropin -- a fertility drug commonly used by athletes to boost their natural testosterone levels after coming off a steroid cycle.
DEA investigators looked into the matter, but federal officials recently told "Outside the Lines" that the agency never opened a case file.
"There are times we don't open up a case," DEA spokesperson Mia Ro said. "It's just maybe that they never got enough (information). Maybe at that time they were hoping for more and they never got it."
MLB also is known to have a heightened angst about players' potential easy access to banned substances from the South Florida clinics, particularly because many of the most recent busts have a local connection -- among them, Ramirez, Cabrera, Yasmani Grandal, and Bartolo Colon.
The interest is such that a source told "Outside the Lines" that MLB earlier interviewed a former University of Miami player about the availability of drugs in the area after he was busted with HGH in 2010.
Bosch, outside of briefly living in El Paso, Texas, has been a player in the South Florida feel-good medical community for at least two decades. His name is listed on state corporation records tied to a laundry list of ventures that are now mostly shuttered, including Contemporary Health Solutions, Body Chemistry, VIP Med, Medical Hrt (hormone replacement therapy) and the latest, Biogenesis of America -- which promotes itself as specializing in weight loss and hormone replacement therapy.
A would-be patient told "Outside the Lines" that Bosch was introduced to him as an "anti-aging doctor" during a visit to a Key Biscayne clinic within the past year, laughing as he recalled a scene in which Bosch yanked up his shirt to show off his abs in a bid to sell HGH treatments. Anti-aging practitioners regularly prescribe HGH for adults with normally declining levels, but the drug is only approved for use in patients with actual medical deficiencies, such as dwarfism, AIDS wasting syndrome and pituitary tumors.
In a separate incident this fall witnessed by OTL, at Hillstone restaurant in Coral Cables, Bosch sat at a table with a group of friends when he saw a man he knew at the bar, who was 50 and overweight. They chatted. Bosch, wearing a red polo and jeans, told the man he was a doctor and that he could help him lose weight by injecting him with hormones. The man said he might.
Several friends and former associates told "Outside the Lines" they were either told by Bosch or led to believe that he was a medical doctor. On state corporate filings for one venture, Bosch is listed as "Dr. Bosch."
Under Florida law, only a licensed physician can consult with a patient and recommend treatment, and prescribe medications.
The current records for Biogenesis of America list Bosch as program director and his father as medical director. Bosch's younger brother, attorney Ashley Bosch, is listed as a managing member.
In Coral Gables, the Biogenesis of America office sits on the first floor of the three-story Gables Waterway Executive Center, a stucco building home to medical and professional offices. The offices back up to a small water canal. Just across four-lane Dixie Highway are the quiet, tree-lined streets of the University of Miami campus. Easily visible is the school's Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field -- the baseball complex the Yankees' star got his name on after a $3.9 million contribution toward its renovation.
State corporation records indicate Biogenesis was first registered last March. The blinds on the Biogenesis windows and door remain drawn and a square sign on the front door reads: "Open: Come On In" -- but since around Jan. 1 the place has been shuttered, the office locked.
A representative of the leasing agency acknowledges the recent inactivity around the office, but doesn't know that it is closed for good. She notes that "several months" remain on the lease.
According to sources, several Biogenesis employees quit this fall, saying they had not been paid. Only Bosch and a receptionist were working in the office in November and December, and packages for the company have been on hold by the U.S. Postal Service and UPS since late December.
In observing Biogenesis in the weeks leading up to its hibernation, the clinic never showed signs of being a beehive of activity, though it appeared to have a steady flow of clients. Often, those walking through the door were athletic-looking teenagers -- accompanied by at least one adult -- and young women baring resemblance to fitness models.
The person they came to see was Bosch.
Asked recently in a phone call the identity of the clinic's medical director, the Biogenesis receptionist responded, "It is Tony Bosch."
"So it is Dr. Bosch?"
"Yes, Dr. Bosch. You just make an appointment with me. The first visit is free."
Last April, after Bosch was stopped by local police and cited for an expired tag and a suspended license, their report listed his occupation as biochemist.
"Tony has always been bragging," a Bosch associate said. "He said he was a doctor. We found out later that he wasn't ... I don't know what (medical) board he took. He said he took one in Arizona or something."
In a Jan. 26 ESPN.com story about Major League Baseball's investigation of performance enhancing drugs in South Florida, an incorrect photo of Anthony Bosch was used. The photo had been used in other stories as well, dating back to 2009. It has been removed.