Last night, news broke of an Al Jazeera TV news documentary (that aired tonight) which alleged that Ryan Howard, Ryan Zimmerman, Taylor Teagarden and several NFL stars all received illegal PEDs. Denials have been issued by many of the parties named in the report, including Howard and Zimmerman to Al Jazeera and their mutual attorney to MLBTR. The Nationals released a statement earlier today in support of Zimmerman, and the Phillies released a statement tonight regarding Howard:
“Ryan Howard has vigorously denied the allegations contained in tonight’s airing of Al Jazeera’s report titled ‘The Dark Side.’ Ryan has spent his whole career with the Phillies and, during that entire time, has been an extremely well respected member of our team and an outstanding contributor to our community. We will fully cooperate with any investigation conducted by Major League Baseball and will refer all further questions to them concerning the Al Jazeera report.”
Dr. Dale Guyer, of the Guyer Institute, also denied the allegations made by former intern Charles Sly (that have since been recanted) that NFL legend Peyton Manning received HGH from the clinic under his wife’s name. Guyer made his statement on his website, as passed on by Nat Newell, Zak Keefer and Justin L. Mack of the Indianapolis Star:
“I have no reason to believe these allegations are based in fact or have any truth. In fact, I can say with absolute certainty they are not. I find it extremely disturbing that the source of Al Jazeera’s story, a former unpaid intern named Charles Sly, would violate the privacy of Mrs. Manning’s medical records and be so callous and destructive as to purposely fabricate and spread stories that are simply not true.
“I would emphasize that Mr. Sly was never an employee of the Guyer Institute and his brief three-month internship occurred in 2013 during which time Peyton was not even being treated or present in the office. I am proud to have treated Peyton and helped him through his rehabilitation. Mr. Manning is one of the most honorable and upstanding individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing.”
You can follow more details on the NFL side of the story on Pro Football Rumors, MLBTR’s sister site. Here’s more from around the NL East…
- While Trea Turner has a ton of upside, the Nationals weren’t going to go into the season with an unproven rookie at short and Danny Espinosa as the everyday second baseman, MASNsports.com’s Byron Kerr writes. The signing of Daniel Murphy answers the Nats’ clear need for an experienced veteran at second who has a proven postseason track record, since Washington fully expects to contend. With the pennant race in mind, the Nats had no time to let Turner learn on the job in April or May.
- The Murphy signing, the Nationals’ scuttled trade for Brandon Phillips and the Mets’ trade for Neil Walker are all addressed by Fangraphs’ David Laurila, who feels New York ended up in the best shape after all these second base shuffles. The Mets benefited by adding Walker for one contract year rather than the Nats signing Murphy for three, Laurila opines, and he also feels the Nats would’ve been better off with Phillips (who has two years remaining on his contract) than Murphy. I disagree with Laurila on that point, as Murphy is both three years younger than Phillips and has been the better player over the last three seasons.
- Braves prospect Austin Riley is profiled by David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in the wake of the 18-year-old’s first pro season. Riley was taken 41st overall in the 2015 draft, a selection that surprised some pundits who had Riley much lower on their board. He was still drawing a lot of attention from teams, including some who saw him as a pitcher, though the Braves instead shifted him from short to third and focused on his power potential. Riley hit .304/.389/.544 with 12 homers over 252 combined plate appearances for two Rookie League teams.