More information from the investigation of Dr. Ramon Scruggs has come to light in a provocative article by The New York Times’ Michael Schmidt. Privy to evidence that is part of the government’s investigation of Scruggs, Schmidt tells the story of Troy Glaus, Ismael Valdez, Scott Schoeneweis, and Todd Greene.
Scruggs has been under investigation since at least 2007, when an Albany DA based investigation into illegal prescriptions showed that Troy Glaus and Scott Schoeneweis had received prescriptions for anabolic steroids from Scruggs (filled by Signature Pharmacy). Valdez was also implicated in the 2007 investigation, but according to a San Francisco Chronicle article, was connected to human growth hormone prescribed by an unnamed dentist known to have given out prescriptions to other players (including Paul Byrd). Todd Greene had not been previously implicated.
The evidence reportedly included "accounts" written by federal agents who had interviewed the players.
The accounts of Glaus, Schoeneweis, catcher Todd Greene and pitcher Ismael Valdez were written by federal agents who interviewed the players as they gathered evidence in the case of Ramon Scruggs, an anti-aging doctor who was indicted last year on charges that he illegally wrote prescriptions for steroids and human growth hormone to the players, business executives, police officers and others.
Schmidt’s article contains some insights yet unseen during Baseball’s Steroid Era. It contains detailed and quote-supported descriptions of the motivations/circumstances of the players (see below), as well as an accusation from Valdez that an Angels’ team doctor injected him with testosterone.
It also described the role played by the agents for Glaus and Greene. It’s long been rumored that player agents were sometimes involved in doping but this article appears to be the first to directly make that link.
Glaus and Greene testified before a federal grand jury that they were referred to Scruggs by their agents, Mike Nicotera and Gene Casaleggio, according to people with knowledge of the testimony who insisted on anonymity because the information was sealed by a court order.
Listed below are excerpts from the Times article about each player.
Frustrated with his rehabilitation, Glaus contacted Scruggs, whose only request was for a blood sample to see whether Glaus’s testosterone levels were low enough to warrant a prescription for steroids. Medical files seized from Scruggs’s office show the steroids were sent before Scruggs reviewed Glaus’s blood test.
Asked by the investigators whether he was concerned that Scruggs did not ask to see him, Glaus was quoted in the report as saying: "I just wanted to get better, it didn’t alarm me. I just wanted to get better and play."
In a phone interview, Scruggs acknowledged he often dealt with patients via telephone: "That may seem terrible, but that’s how it is. I have caught things in hours with people on the phone that other doctors wouldn’t catch."
It was also through phone calls that Scruggs taught Glaus how to inject himself, according to the investigators’ report.
Starting in November 2003 and for the next three months, Glaus injected himself once every four days with the steroids nandrolone and testosterone, the investigators say he told them.
"It worked, and I was getting better," Glaus is quoted saying.
Greene said that he contacted Scruggs in 2001 because "he felt he was at a critical point in his career and, being married and having two kids, he was concerned that he would not be able to make a living playing baseball," according to a report from an interview authorities conducted with him in 2005.
Valdez told the investigators he had pain in his shoulder and knee, and contacted Scruggs, who mailed him syringes filled with steroids.
Valdez told the investigators he already had experience with steroids; he said a doctor with the Angels injected him with testosterone in 2001.
"Valdez said the Anaheim Angels doctor told him that his testosterone levels were low," the federal agents wrote in their report. The report did not specify the doctor who injected Valdez.
"Schoeneweis stated that he only used steroids one time during the season, and because he was a player representative, he knew when players got tested," their report says.
The notion that union officials tipped off players to tests in the first two years of the program has been raised several times before, including in the Mitchell report.
Schoeneweis, a 10-year veteran now with the Arizona Diamondbacks, said in an interview during spring training that he was simply stating that all players knew they were going to be tested in 2003. He said he never received advance notice about a test.
Scruggs, during a phone interview with the Times, defended the players.
"These players benefited from restoration, not performance enhancement," Scruggs said in a telephone interview. "Steroids don’t make someone a good athlete or a bad athlete; they may make you stronger, but they don’t make you a better athlete."
There is a very interesting interview with Scruggs at Anabolic Extreme from 1999-2000, many years before he was implicated by the Albany DA. It is definitely recommended reading.
Interview with Dr. Ramon Scruggs Part 1 (misspelled as Dr. Raymond Skruggs)
Interview with Dr. Ramon Scruggs Part 2
- Inside a Tempting World of Easy SteroidsNew York Times
- Baseball's Jose Guillen, Matt Williams bought steroids from clinicSan Francisco Chronicle