Feds questioning athletes about doctor
Major Leaguers among those treated by Galea
Federal investigators are casting a wider net in their attempt to bring a case against Dr. Anthony Galea, and their efforts may involve several Major League players with ties to the Toronto-based physician. Galea, who faces charges of unlawfully importing and distributing banned performance enhancing substances, has dealt with many prominent athletes over the years.
Several Major League players may be drawn into the investigation, and Mets shortstop Jose Reyes said Monday that he has already been interviewed by federal agents. Reyes, who denied using any performance enhancing substances, said he went to Galea for a medical process called "blood spinning" in an attempt to accelerate the healing in his right hamstring.
"I felt a little better right away," Reyes said. "But as soon as I started running again ... pain. It didn't work. I finally had to get the surgery."
Galea faces charges in Canada of conspiring to smuggle human growth hormone and Actovegin into the U.S., conspiracy to smuggle prohibited goods into Canada, unlawfully selling Actovegin and smuggling goods into Canada. According to medical experts, Actovegin, de-protenized calf blood, has legitimate medical uses but has potential as an illegal performance-enhancing drug.
The New York Daily News has reported Galea has adamantly denied providing HGH to the athletes he treats.
And now, investigators want to hear the athletes' side of the story. The Yankees' Alex Rodriguez and Colorado's Huston Street have said they met with Galea in the past. Both players have been informed that they could be interviewed as part of the ongoing investigation.
"I was notified by my agents that I may or may not be asked questions, whether that's from the U.S. Attorney's Office or the [MLB] Commissioner's Office," said Street, who was treated by Galea for an elbow injury in 2007 and a hip injury in 2008. "I really don't know the specifics of why he is in trouble, why he is not in trouble. I know that everything we had talked about ... that we were going to do procedurally, was 100 percent within the law. We went to him because he's been very good with getting injuries healed."
Rodriguez, a 12-time All-Star, has also consulted Galea, and he said Monday that he planned on cooperating with the investigation. Rodriguez is believed to have seen Galea in reference to a right hip injury but would not comment on the specifics of their interaction.
"I can't really get into that," Rodriguez said after Monday's workout at George M. Steinbrenner Field. "I know you guys have to ask those questions, but I have to speak to those guys first. You guys will know pretty much all at the same time."
Rodriguez wound up having surgery to repair the labrum in his right hip, and the rehabilitation process caused him to miss the first month of the season. The Yankees issued their own statement regarding the Galea investigation and their star's involvement in it:
"The New York Yankees have not been contacted with regard to an investigation of Dr. Tony Galea. The Yankees never authorized Dr. Tony Galea to treat Alex Rodriguez, nor do we have any knowledge of any such treatment. The Yankees authorized Dr. Marc Philippon to operate on Alex and oversee his rehabilitation. At the request of Dr. Philippon, we also authorized Dr. Mark Lindsay to supervise the daily rehabilitation program established by Dr. Philippon. We will continue to monitor the situation."
Galea has also treated golf star Tiger Woods, and Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran said that Galea treated him for a knee injury. A recent report posted by Sports Illustrated said that federal law enforcement officials have notified several athletes that they could expect grand jury subpoenas in this case, and Reyes, Woods, NFL quarterback Chris Simms and slugger Carlos Delgado were among them.
Reyes said he isn't aware of Delgado's involvement with Galea, and he also said he was relieved to be done with his interview.
"Now that I did, I'm free," he said. "They said I'm done. Good."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.