After a lengthy investigation, Major League Baseball says they could find nothing to support claims made in an Al Jazeera documentary that Ryan Howard, or Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, used or possessed performance enhancing drugs.
The commissioner’s office released this statement to the media.
The ruling by Major League Baseball was expected. Shortly after their press release went public, Howard responded with a statement of his own.
The report that aired on Al Jazeera revolved around claims made by a man associated with a clinic in the Indianapolis area named Charlie Sly. In the documentary, Sly was videotaped without his knowledge and said that NFL star Peytong Manning, Howard, Zimmerman and other athletes received human growth hormone.
However, before the report aired, Sly himself recanted everything he had said on videotape and said nothing that aired in the Al Jazeera report should be believed.
Howard was not accused of using steroids, but was accused of being sent HGH around 2011. MLB has reportedly found nothing to back up those initial claims by Sly.
Both Howard and Zimmerman have sued Al Jazeera, targeting both the network and the two reporters who reported on the story as well.
Howard is batting .198/.251/.451 with 19 homers in 279 plate appearances on the season, but has been red-hot lately. Since July 7 (68 PAs), Howard has batted .338/.368/.769 with 8 HRs, 18 RBIs, 13 runs scored and a wRC+ of 195.
He has three home runs in his last four games and five in his last eight. And he went deep again last night.
Among first basemen with at least 50 PAs in the second half, Howard is second in baseball with a wRC+ of 210 (behind only Joey Votto) and is tops with a slugging percentage of .804. Votto and Mike Napoli are next-closest at .673.
It has been a terrific farewell second half for The Big Piece, buoyed by the news by Major League Baseball regarding their Al Jazeera investigation.