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UPI NewsTrack Sports

Feb. 6, 2013 at 5:15 PM   |   Comments

Braun, Montero drawn into doping scandal

MIAMI, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Milwaukee slugger Ryan Braun and veteran Seattle catcher Jesus Montero are the latest big leaguers linked a Florida clinic at the center of a doping scandal.

Braun -- a five-time all-star and the National League's most valuable player in 2011 -- issued a statement Tuesday saying he had "nothing to hide" after published reports indicated his name was included in the records of Biogenesis of America, an anti-aging clinic founded by Anthony Bosch.

The New York Daily News reported Wednesday Montero's name also was listed at Biogenesis.

The Miami New Times reported last week the names of New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and several other prominent players were found in a notebook of Bosch, who was previously linked to slugger Manny Ramirez, who was suspended by Major League Baseball for violating the league's drug policy in 2009.

Yahoo! Sports reported Tuesday Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player, had links with Biogenesis of America, which is the target of an MLB investigation.

Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Gio Gonzalez and Bartolo Colon also are among those implicated in the scandal.

Montero is a client of the New York sports agency ACES run by Seth and Sam Levinson, who represent Cabrera, who was given a 50-game suspension by MLB last summer after testing positive for elevated levels of testerone, and are being investigated by MLB as well.

New Times reported it obtained the records as part of its investigation into use of banned substances by professional athletes. The clinic closed last month and its records "are clear in describing the firm's real business -- selling performance-enhancing drugs, from human growth hormone to testosterone to anabolic steroids," the newspaper said.

Braun -- who tested positive for elevated testosterone levels during his MVP year and was suspended in 2012 -- said in his statement his relationship with Bosch was limited to consultation on issues involved in his appeal of the positive test result, including how samples can be tampered with.

Braun had the suspension overturned -- and retained the MVP award -- after arbitrators questioned the way in which his urine sample was handled.

"During the course of preparing for my successful appeal last year, my attorneys, who were previously familiar with Tony Bosch, used him as a consultant," Braun said.

"I have nothing to hide and have never had any other relationship with Bosch," he said. "I will fully cooperate with any inquiry into this matter."

New Times said names in Biogenesis' records also include pro tennis player Wayne Odesnik and Cuban star boxer Yuriorkis Gamboa.


Venus Williams pulls out of Doha

DOHA, Qatar, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- World No. 23 Venus Williams says she won't compete in next week's Qatar Open because of a lower back injury.

Williams, 32, once the world's top-ranked player, also is skipping this week's USA-Italy Fed Cup match-up because of the injury.

Williams lost to Maria Sharapova in straight sets in the third round at the Australian Open last month.

The Qatar event will feature current world No. 1 and reigning champion Victoria Azarenka and Williams' younger sister Serena.


Lindsey Vonn to have knee surgery in U.S.

SCHLADMING, Austria, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Lindsey Vonn was discharged from an Austrian hospital Wednesday and vowed to be back on the slopes in time for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia next year.

Vonn's World Cup season came to crashing end Tuesday when she lost a ski during the women's super-G and wound up with torn ligaments and a fracture in her knee.

The Olympic champion was treated overnight in Schladming and planned to return to the United States to undergo surgery, the U.S. Ski Association said in a written statement.

Vonn thanked the hospital staff for their care and added, "I can assure you that I will work as hard as humanly possible to be ready to represent my country next year in Sochi."


Rockies' Helton arrested for DUI

DENVER, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton was arrested Wednesday morning for allegedly driving while drunk, the National League club said.

The 39-year-old ballplayer was picked up while in the Denver suburb of Thornton.

"We were extremely disappointed to learn that Todd was arrested this morning," the team said in a statement. "This type of behavior is taken very seriously by our organization. We know that he clearly understands the seriousness of his poor decision, the harm that could have been inflicted on others and the embarrassment his mistake has caused to himself, his family, the Colorado Rockies organization and to Major League Baseball.

"Todd is taking full accountability for his actions with his family, his fans and the organization. The man we have grown to know has strong values that are grounded in his family and hard work. Todd clearly understands the severity of the situation."

Helton, entering the last year of his contract with Colorado, has hit .320 with 354 home runs and 1,345 RBI during his career, spent entirely with the Rockies.

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