Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz on Tuesday became the eighth major league player (and second Phillie, with infielder Freddy Galvis) to be suspended under the guidelines of the joint drug prevention and treatment program since the beginning of the 2012 season.
A first-time All-Star last season, when he established career highs in home runs, batting and OPS, Ruiz tested positive for a second time for an amphetamine, triggering a 25-game suspension effective at the start of the 2013 season. The stimulant was reportedly Adderall, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. MLB grants therapeutic use exemptions, which Ruiz either did not or could not acquire.
A favorite in Philadelphia, where he's known as "Chooch," Ruiz apologized to the team and its fans for taking a "prohibited stimulant." After an initial positive test for stimulants, players are notified of the result, put on a clinical track and subject to increased testing, but not suspended. The second test brings a suspension.
Barring rainouts, Ruiz would be eligible to return April 28 in New York.
Unless they trade for a catcher, the Phillies likely will open the season with Erik Kratz behind the plate. In 50 games last season, Kratz, 32, batted .248 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs. Phillies pitchers actually had a better ERA with Kratz at catcher (3.36) than they did with Ruiz (4.11). Two prospects – Tommy Joseph and Sebastian Valle – could vie for the backup job.
Ruiz played in four games for Panama in World Baseball Classic qualifying, batting .308. Panama was eliminated by Brazil. According to sources, Ruiz's positive test came at the end of the regular season, but the investigative process was not complete at the time of the WBC games.
The previous seven players to be suspended since May: Guillermo Mota, Galvis, Marlon Byrd, Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, Ryan Adams and Yasmani Grandal.
Ruiz, 33, has played seven big-league seasons, all of them with the Phillies. He is under contract through 2013.
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