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Chip R
04-09-2008, 11:42 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/sports/baseball/10drugs.html?hp

Baseball Is Again Linked to Steroids

By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT
Published: April 10, 2008

Player agents in Major League Baseball referred clients to a doctor in California who illegally wrote prescriptions for performance-enhancing drugs, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday by federal authorities.

Dr. Ramon Scruggs and two of his associates face 11 charges stemming from the suspected distribution of steroids and human growth hormone to patients who did not have legitimate medical reasons for using the substances, the indictment said.

The players were referred to Scruggs by agents "for the purposes of obtaining anabolic steroids and other drugs which those individuals knew to be banned by Major League Baseball and therefore unavailable to the players through lawful medical channels absent the illegal prescripts provided by Scruggs," the indictment said.

The indictment did not name any players or agents, and did not specify how many players might have been involved, although lawyers familiar with the case have said it is expected to be less than a dozen. The indictment said that Scruggs also distributed performance-enhancing drugs to law enforcement officers and others.

The legal action against Scruggs comes less than four months after George J. Mitchell released his report on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.

The indictment was not the first time Scruggs had been tied to distributing performance-enhancing drugs to baseball players. In the Mitchell report, Troy Glaus of the St. Louis Cardinals and Scott Schoeneweis of the Mets were cited for receiving steroids after Scruggs had written them prescriptions.

That information stemmed from an investigation into an Internet ring of pharmacies and antiaging clinics by authorities at the Albany County district attorney's office in New York and federal authorities in Alabama. Lawyers familiar with the case had said Scruggs wrote prescriptions for players besides Glaus and Schoeneweis.

Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president for labor relations, said the commissioner's office was cooperating with the federal investigation and declined further comment.

The New York Times reported in March that agents in California for the Drug Enforcement Administration had been investigating Scruggs for several years. That investigation regained momentum in the last year after it had become dormant, lawyers familiar with the case said.

The indictment of Scruggs, along with the two associates Allan Danto, a consultant, and Heidi Macpherson, an office manager is another instance in which the United States attorney's office in the Northern District of California has taken on a matter involving professional athletes and performance-enhancing drugs.

The indictment was signed by Matt Parrella and Jeff Nedrow, the two assistant United States attorneys who have done much of the work in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative investigation, dating to 2002. The I.R.S. special agent Jeff Novitzky, who has become the face of most of the federal government's investigations into the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs to professional athletes, is not believed to be playing a key role in the Scruggs case.

Scruggs operated his medical practice out of the New Hope Health Center in Tustin, Calif. State authorities have detailed numerous times he has improperly written prescriptions for patients across the country whom he never examined.

Documents filed by the state medical board in June 2004 and updated in June 2006 said Scruggs had "prescribed approximately 6,073 prescriptions of dangerous drugs or controlled substances over the Internet without a good faith examination of the patients" in and out of California since 2000. Scruggs settled the matter and accepted a $4,800 fine and 35 months of probation.

Scruggs was described as "an antiaging and performance specialist" in an interview in 2000 on the Web site anabolicextreme.com. He said at the time that he was concerned about how other doctors viewed him.

"If you want to know the truth, I don't like taking 22- or 23-year-olds and putting them on steroids; it makes me nervous," he said. "Yet I'd rather have them come to me, and manage their steroid use, than have them do it on their own."

Scruggs has admitted to taking human growth hormone and also complained that there were few "steroid-friendly pharmacies."

WMR
04-09-2008, 11:43 PM
Makes sense.

Bigger numbers = bigger contracts = more money in Agent's pocket

redsrule2500
04-10-2008, 01:29 AM
Obviously. This doesn't surprise me at all, especially because the agent doesn't have any direct consequences with law enforcement if they are caught.

WMR
04-10-2008, 01:30 AM
Not necessarily. Depending on an agent's level of involvement, he could be charged with conspiracy in a steroid distribution ring.

redsrule2500
04-10-2008, 01:50 AM
Not necessarily. Depending on an agent's level of involvement, he could be charged with conspiracy in a steroid distribution ring.

oh okay, interesting. Yeah I don't know enough about it I guess.

edabbs44
04-10-2008, 07:37 AM
Not necessarily. Depending on an agent's level of involvement, he could be charged with conspiracy in a steroid distribution ring.

Also I am sure that MLB could sanction the agent and potentially bar him/her for a period of time if they really wanted to.

Highlifeman21
04-10-2008, 04:55 PM
This story will have more teeth if we start seeing names of players and names of agents.

Until then, it's a non-story, IMO.

Joseph
04-10-2008, 05:00 PM
Let's hope the agents ability to negotiate a contract is revoked.