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Report links Pirates first baseman Sanchez to PEDs while in college

| Thursday, July 10, 2014, 4:03 p.m.

ST. LOUIS — Pirates first baseman Gaby Sanchez declined to comment Thursday on a published report that he was suspended from the University of Miami baseball team nine years ago after failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs.

Sanchez is among several former Miami players, coaches and trainers connected with PEDs in the book “Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis and the Quest to End Baseball's Steroid Era.” The book was co-written by reporters Tim Elfrink of the Miami New Times and Gus Garcia-Roberts of Newsday.

An excerpt from the book was featured Thursday in the Miami New Times.

“I've got no comment on that,” Sanchez said before Thursday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals. “I'm here to play baseball.”

Sanchez, 30, played at the University of Miami in 2003 and 2004. He said the Pirates have not spoken to him about the allegations in the book.

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington was traveling Thursday and was unavailable for comment.

Pirates spokesman Brian Warecki released this statement: “We cannot speak to the points raised in this article, as that was nearly a decade ago and (we) have no knowledge of the situation. What we do know, however, is that Gaby, like every other player in MLB, has been tested multiple times per year since the very strict policies and testing procedures were put in place. Gaby has passed every single time.”

In their book, Elfrink and Garcia-Roberts claim “multiple sources” told them Sanchez and teammate Marcelo Albir were suspended in January 2005 after flunking their urine tests in October 2004. The two players sat out the entire 2005 season.

The university has never revealed the reason for Sanchez's suspension.

Elfrink and Garcia-Roberts also claim Sanchez's name is listed in records kept by Tony Bosch, who ran the Biogenesis clinic that allegedly sold PEDs to Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is serving a MLB-mandated 162-game suspension for his connections to the Biogenesis scandal. Elfrink broke the story of Rodriguez's involvement in the Miami New Times in January 2013.

Sanchez, 30, was drafted in the fourth round by the Miami Marlins in June 2005 and got a $250,000 signing bonus.

Sanchez finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting in 2010, when he batted .273 with 19 home runs and a .788 on-base plus slugging percentage. He was named to the National League All-Star team in 2011, when he hit .266 with 19 homers and a .779 OPS.

After slumping at the plate during the 2012 season, the Marlins demoted Sanchez to their Triple-A affiliate. He was traded to the Pirates on July 31, 2012.

Since the start of the 2012 season, Sanchez has a combined .236 average and a .699 OPS and has hit a total of 19 homers with the Marlins and Pirates.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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