Twelve players suspended for PEDs
Twelve players have accepted 50-game suspensions for violating baseball’s drug policy, Ken Rosenthal reports, citing sources.
Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo, Mets outfielder Jordany Valdespin, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, free-agent pitcher Jordan Norberto, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Mariners catcher/designated hitter Jesus Montero, Mets outfielder Cesar Puello, Astros minor league reliever Sergio Escalona, Padres minor league reliever Fautino De Los Santos and Yankees minor league outfielder Fernando Martinez have accepted their punishments handed out by Major League Baseball based on findings in its investigation of the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Fla.
Norberto’s suspension will be effective immediately once he signs with another Major League organization. All other suspensions are effective immediately.
The clinic and its founder, Anthony Bosch, are alleged to have provided performance-enhancing drugs to major league players, as well as athletes in other sports.
Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon, Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal — who were all named in Biogenesis documents — have each served a 50-game suspension following a positive test. They will receive no additional punishment. Colon and Cabrera served their suspensions during the 2012 season; Grandal served his at the beginning of this season.
The suspended players will not be paid while they serve out their bans.
Cruz, 33, was the MVP of the 2011 ALCS became an All-Star for the second time last month. Cruz is eligible for free agency after this season. He leads second-place Texas with 27 homers and 76 RBI this year. Salary lost: $2,732,240 plus the opportunity to earn $500,000 in performance bonuses based on plate appearances.
Cruz blamed his failed test as the rest of an "error in judgmen" following a stomach virus.
"From November, 2011 to January, 2012, I was seriously ill with a gastrointestinal infection, helicobacter pylori, which went undiagnosed for over a month," he said in a statement. "By the time I was properly diagnosed and treated, I had lost 40 pounds. Just weeks before I was to report to spring training in 2012, I was unsure whether I would be physically able to play. Faced with this situation, I made an error in judgment that I deeply regret, and I accept full responsibility for that error. I should have handled the situation differently, and my illness was no excuse. I am thankful for the unwavering support of my family, friends, and teammates during this difficult time. I look forward to regaining the trust and respect of the Rangers organization, my teammates, and the great Rangers’ fans, and I am grateful for the opportunity to rejoin the team for the playoffs."
Peralta, 31, made his second All-Star team this year and is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. Detroit exercised a $6 million option to keep him for 2013. He is batting .305 with 11 home runs and 54 RBIs. Salary lost: $1,639,344.
"In spring of 2012, I made a terrible mistake that I deeply regret," Peralta said in a statement. "I apologize to everyone that I have hurt as a result of my mistake, including my teammates, the Tigers’ organization, the great fans in Detroit, Major League Baseball, and my family. I take full responsibility for my actions, have no excuses for my lapse in judgment and I accept my suspension. I love the fans, my teammates and this organization and my greatest punishment is knowing that I have let so many good people down. I promise to do everything possible to try and earn back the respect that I have lost."
Bastardo, 27, is 3-2 with two saves and a 2.32 ERA this season. He hadn't previously been linked to the Biogenesis scandal or performance-enhancing drugs. He has pitched for five seasons with the Phillies in several roles. Salary lost: $382,514.
Everth Cabrera, 26, is a switch-hitter who is one of the top base stealers in the big leagues. He's making $1,275,000 this season. He was the lone All-Star from the struggling Padres, but didn't get into the game. He is hitting .283 and leads the National League with 37 steals. Salary lost: $348,361.
Cervelli, 27, has been on the disabled list since breaking his right hand when it was hit by a foul ball April 26. Cervelli has said he consulted with Biogenesis after a foot injury in 2011 but did not receive any treatment from the facility. When he got injured he was hitting .269 with three homers and eight RBI in 52 at-bats. Salary lost: $140,806.
Montero, 23, was considered one of the top prospects in baseball after a brief stint with the Yankees at the end of 2011. He played in 29 games before being demoted to the minors in late May and had barely settled in at Tacoma when he sustained a left knee injury that required surgery. Salary lost: $79,820.
Valdespin, 25, reached the majors last year. Unpopular in the clubhouse, he was hitting .188 with four home runs and 16 RBI in 133 at-bats when he was demoted to Las Vegas last month. He's batting .466 with three homers and 24 RBI in 16 games at Triple-A. Salary lost: $61,773.
Puello, 22, has been in the Mets' minor league system since 2008. Considered a top prospect, he has been on the 40-man roster since November 2011 but has not made his major league debut. He is hitting .328 with 16 homers, 73 RBI and 24 steals this season at Binghamton. Salary lost: $21,831.
Escalona, 29, was the winning pitcher in his major league debut, throwing a scoreless inning for Philadelphia in 2009. Escalona missed the entire 2012 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and returned this year, going 1-2 with a 6.60 ERA in 12 minor league games.
De Los Santos, 27, went 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two relief appearances for Triple-A Tucson (PCL) before he was released on May 15.
Martinez, 24, was sent outright to the minors in May and was traded to the Yankees in June for minor league right-hander Charles Basford.
Norberto, 27, appeared in three games for the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats, allowing six runs and walking seven in 1 1/3 innings before being placed on the disabled list April 13 with a strained left elbow. He was released on May 8.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)