September 7, 2007

NYDN: Ankiel Bought HGH in 2004

New York Daily News:
St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel, baseball's feel-good story of the season, received a 12-month supply of human growth hormone in 2004 from a Florida pharmacy that was part of a national illegal prescription drug-distribution operation, the Daily News has learned. ...

According to records obtained by The News and sources close to the controversy surrounding anti-aging clinics that dispense illegal prescription drugs, Ankiel received eight shipments of HGH from Signature Pharmacy in Orlando from January to December 2004, including the brand-name injectable drugs Saizen and Genotropin. Signature is the pharmacy at the forefront of Albany District Attorney David Soares' two-year investigation into illegal Internet prescription drug sales, which has brought 22 indictments and nine convictions.

Ankiel's prescriptions were signed by Florida physician William Gogan, who provided them through a Palm Beach Gardens clinic called "The Health and Rejuvenation Center," or "THARC." The drugs were shipped to Ankiel at the clinic's address.

THARC also provided a shipment of steroids and growth hormone to former major league pitcher Steve Woodard, who pitched for Milwaukee, Cleveland, Texas and Boston during a seven-year career that ended in 2003, according to records. Woodard and Ankiel were teammates with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds in 2004. ...

Ankiel, 28, has not been accused by authorities of wrongdoing, and according to the Signature records obtained by The News, he stopped receiving HGH just before Major League Baseball officially banned it in 2005. MLB does not test for HGH, but a player who is known to have used it or even possessed it from the time it was banned can face a 50-game suspension. ...

MLB officials also declined comment, saying they would "look into" the allegations, but weren't sure whether any action could be taken. It is likely, however, that officials will ask to speak to Ankiel and will ask whether he used HGH beyond the time he received the shipments.
I checked the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but all they have is the Daily News article. P-D blogger Bernie Miklasz has posted:
So legally, because of the doctor's prescription, Ankiel appears to be in the clear. And he did not violate any baseball regulations at the time.

Ankiel was still a pitcher in '04, struggling to cope with physical injuries on top of lingering psychological trauma.

If Ankiel chooses to respond to any of this, perhaps he'll say HGH was recommended to help him recover from injuries. He underwent reconstructive elbow surgery in July, 2003, and pitched only 33 innings in 2004.

Perhaps Ankiel will say he was young and confused and desperately wanted to try anything to rescue his career. And that as soon as baseball banned the stuff, he stopped using it. And that he never used it again after 2004. And that he's been completely drug free since then. And if Ankiel said something like that, we move on, right?
Probably not. I assume there will be a lot more about this tonight and tomorrow.

( writer Barry Bloom reports that Gary Matthews Jr.'s name came up earlier in this investigation. After Matthews said he had not taken the drug "during the 2004 season or any other time", MLB did not investigate further.)


redsock said...

Joe Strauss, Post-Dispatch, says the Cardinals were "blindsided" by the report and "withheld any official comment until Friday afternoon.

"We just learned of it late last night and if there is going to be a comment at all, it will be at the ballpark," Cardinals director of media relations Brian Bartow said. ...

[Team officials] planned to speak with Ankiel before making any comment."

redsock said...

ESPN: "Former World Series MVP and four-time All Star Troy Glaus received multiple shipments of performance-enhancing drugs via a Florida pharmacy and a California anti-aging clinic, Sports Illustrated reported on its Web site Friday.

According to the report, a source in Florida with knowledge of the Internet pharmacy's client list, said multiple shipments of Nandrolone, an anabolic steroid, and testosterone were sent to a Corona, Calif. address that corresponds with Glaus' address. The shipments reportedly occurred between Sept., 2003 and May, 2004.

The receipts only show that the substances were sent to the address. However, both nandrolone and testosterone were on Major League Baseball's banned substances list at the time the items were shipped, reported."

redsock said...

From Buster Olney's blog:

"There are whispers all over the place in baseball that the use of performance-enhancing drugs is growing rapidly. Back then it was steroids, and now it's HGH. Scouts who watch players daily say the bodies of some players are inexplicably increasing in size, again; team executives are privately fretting about whether to invest in players they think might be using; and players quietly speak of the quandary they face -- take the stuff and keep up with some other players, or don't take the stuff and face a competitive disadvantage."

redsock said...

Also note that Olney has already passed judgment on Ankiel:

"Ankiel has nine homers in 81 at-bats, which is pretty good if you're Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds or Alex Rodriguez, or a guy who decided to make the easy -- ahem -- switch from pitching to outfield a couple of years ago. A-Rod is the only guy in baseball with a higher slugging percentage than Ankiel since the day the Cardinals called up Ankiel ..."

ish said...

I certainly think that as far as the MLB policy and investigation goes, this new Troy Glaus issue bears a lot closer scrutiny than Rick Ankiel at this point. So far, we know Ankiel was shipped HGH in 2004, before the substance was banned in 2005. Reports say there were no further shipments of HGH since it was banned by MLB.

both nandrolone and testosterone were on Major League Baseball's banned substances list at the time the items were shipped, reported."

That investigation should be priority #1. Of course, George Mitchell now has a list of 45 current and former players he wants information out of regarding his investigation.

Things are certainly getting quite juicey.

redsock said...

SI link is here.

ish said...

I'm having a hard time judging Ankiel right now, personally. If these alleged facts are true, then he did nothing illegal, either in the eyes of the law or in the eyes of MLB.

But the fact that he used HGH, and then they banned it - there's a good reason why they banned it.

redsock said...

Hell, Giambi won Comeback Player of the Year when it was blatantly obvious that he was on something.

So maybe this'll all blow over if Ankiel and Glaus apologize for doing "something" and donate some $ to charity.

L-girl said...

there's a good reason why they banned it.

Which is...?