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. ...I checked the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but all they have is the Daily News article. P-D blogger Bernie Miklasz has posted:
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.
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.Probably not. I assume there will be a lot more about this tonight and tomorrow.
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?
(MLB.com 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.)