Scrutiny surrounds Mets prospect Cesar Puello, but the outfielder isn't fazed at all.
Puello, one of 20 players named in an ESPN Outside the Lines report on the Biogenesis clinic in Florida homered for the fourth straight game Thursday, hitting a pair of solo shots to help lift Double-A Binghamton past Trenton, 5-4.
Puello hit his 11th homer of the season in the sixth inning off Thunder starter Matt Tracy before adding his 12th two frames later, a go-ahead shot off reliever Fred Lewis (0-2). The right-fielder, ranked as the Mets' No. 14 prospect, finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs for first-place Binghamton.
Puello homered four times in the Trenton series and has now gone deep seven times in six games against the Thunder.
The 22-year-old has five long balls in his last four games -- he went 3-for-5 with a homer on June 2 at New Hampshire, collected three more hits including a dinger on June 4 against Trenton and plated three runs thanks to another home run on June 5, before his two-homer effort Thursday. The 6-foot-2 Dominican is batting .395 with 13 RBIs in his last 10 games for Binghamton, boosting his season average to .320.
Puello leads the B-Mets in most offensive categories, including average (.320), homers (12), RBIs (41), stolen bases (15), hits (58), slugging (.602) and OPS (.999).
Earlier in the week it was first reported by ESPN that Puello was among about 20 players that Major League Baseball would seek to suspend due to connections to Biogenesis of America. The ongoing review of the performance-enhancing drug allegations could potentially produce 100-game suspensions for those involved, including former MVPs Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun. Puello is believed to be the only Minor Leaguer cited in the investigation.
Puello, the Mets' No. 2 outfield prospect, was linked to the Miami-based medical clinic run by Tony Bosch, who reportedly distributed performance-enhancing drugs to players. Major League Baseball has investigated Bosch and is seeking to suspend players involved -- some of the 20 connected to Biogenesis had their names directly listed on documents, Puello being one of them, while others were listed by codewords.
Despite being a Minor Leaguer, Puello is a member of the MLB Players Association by virtue of being on the Mets' 40-man roster. That means the Major League Baseball Players Association would be able to file a grievance on behalf of Puello should he receive a suspension.