As Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez nears the end of his 50-game suspension, Drug Enforcement Administration investigators are looking at a Miami doctor and his son as the source of his banned performance-enhancing drug, sources familiar with the investigation told ESPN.
Major League Baseball officials, when contacted, confirmed the existence of the federal investigation.
"We're aware of the investigation and our department of investigations is cooperating with the DEA," MLB president Bob DuPuy said Thursday afternoon. He declined to answer any other questions.
Investigators believe the prescription for human chorionic gonadotropin, known as hCG, was written by Pedro Publio Bosch, 71, a physician who has practiced family medicine in Florida since 1976. His son, Anthony Bosch, 45, is believed to have worked as a contact between his father and Ramirez. It's unclear how far along the DEA is in its inquiry but sources indicated that investigators want to know whether either man ever procured improper or illegal prescriptions for other people. DEA officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Pedro Bosch practices in a medical building located across the street from Coral Gables Hospital in Coral Gables, southwest of Miami.
Bosch, through his attorney, declined to comment. Anthony Bosch could not be reached for comment.
Anthony Bosch is well known in Latin American baseball circles, sources say. His relationships with players date at least from the earlier part of the decade, when he was seen attending parties with players and known to procure tickets to big league ballparks, especially in Boston and New York.
Records show Pedro Bosch, a 1961 graduate of University of Havana, has never faced any disciplinary action in the state of Florida, where he has been licensed to practice medicine since 1976.
Ramirez began serving his suspension May 7 and is scheduled to return to the Dodgers' lineup on July 3. He is currently on rehab assignment with the Albuquerque Isotopes. At the time of his suspension, Ramirez issued a statement explaining why he went to a personal doctor.
"Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue," Ramirez said in the statement. "He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was okay to give me. Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy that mistake is now my responsibility."
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 contained the hCG prescription Ramirez had allegedly received from Pedro Bosch. 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.
In early March the Dodgers finally signed Ramirez to a two-year, $45 million contract, the second year as a player option. Ramirez was hitting .348 with six home runs and 20 RBIs at the time of his suspension.
When Ramirez released his statement after the suspension, he added a final thought: "I do want to say one other thing," he said. "I've taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past five seasons."
Amy K. Nelson is a staff writer for ESPN.com. She can be reached at Amy.K.Nelson@espn3.com. T.J. Quinn is a reporter for ESPN's Enterprise Unit. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. ESPN The Magazine's Jorge Arangure Jr. and ESPN reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Paula Lavigne also contributed to this report.