News broke within the last hour or so, courtesy of ESPN, that Major League Baseball is preparing to impose suspensions on 20 players linked to possible performance enhancing drug use via connections to the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in the Miami area. One of those 20 players is Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, now awaiting knee surgery tomorrow morning after a demotion to Class AAA.
As for how long a Montero suspension would be, if indeed there is one coming, I have no idea. The report stated that some bigger names like Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun might be facing suspensions as high as 100 games because MLB is prepared to consider them two-time offenders.
According to the report, MLB has obtained the co-operation of Tony Bosch, the former head of Biogenesis, in its investigation. Any suspension for two-time PED offenses would come from MLB considering the players’ connection to Bosch as one offense and then their prior statements of not knowing him as a second offense intended to mislead investigators.
No idea where Montero falls in all that. I know that when I approached him the day his name was first linked to the clinic, he denied knowing Bosch or having any connection to him.
So, if I was an investigator for MLB, that might constitute two “offenses” right there. But I’m not an MLB investigator and I have no idea what Montero has told them or whether he was even approached in the probe.
Montero also told me that his younger brother, also named Jesus and a catcher in the Cardinals’ system, had no idea who Bosch was and zero connection to him. I think that by now, several months in, we can assume this isn’t a case of mistaken identity and that it’s the Mariners’ version of Jesus Montero that MLB is looking into.
The Mariners have yet to release any statement on today’s news.
Randy Adamack, the team’s vice-president (communications), told me he was still gathering information from team officials and would not know until later whether any official comment would be issued.
At the time the scandal first broke back in spring training, the Mariners said they were letting MLB handle the investigation and that any questions about Montero should be directed towards MLB.
Now, it goes without saying that any lengthy suspension for Montero would pretty much end his 2013 season right here. At least at the MLB level. Montero is already going to miss four-to-six weeks with that meniscus surgery and recovery from it. Last I checked, he’d have to wait until a return to MLB before serving any suspension. Prior to that, he’d have to play well enough in Class AAA to even get called up to MLB again.
So, in this case, even a 50-game suspension likely ends his season.
That’s not good news for the Mariners, who still consider Montero a key part of their youth movement. Having him out of MLB the rest of this season and then expecting him to make great strides to start next year would seem a bit of a stretch.
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Let’s see whether Montero is indeed suspended and whether that suspension would apply strictly to future MLB games once he’s called up.