- Marionville mayor ‘kind of agreed’ with Kansas City shooter’s views
- Rev. Al Sharpton’s Easter message: Politically ‘crucified’ Obama has risen again
- Supreme Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
- UNICEF launches ‘Mr. Poo’ mascot in India to curb public defecation
- Teen taking selfie by train: ‘Wow, that guy just kicked me in the head’
- Goodbye, Afghanistan — hello, Africa: Air Force to shift as U.S. exits Middle East
- Iran mulls ban on vasectomies, decrease on abortions to bolster population
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers ‘more deadly than jihadists’
- Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings
- ABC News accuses Center for Public Integrity of stealing Pulitzer-winning work
Carlos Ruiz: Phillies catcher suspended 25 games after positive test
NEW YORK — Add catcher to the Philadelphia Phillies‘ needs this offseason.
All-Star Carlos Ruiz was suspended Tuesday for the first 25 games of next season following a positive test for an amphetamine. The 33-year-old catcher had a career year in 2012, hitting .325 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 114 games.
“I am sincerely regretful for my mistake in taking a prohibited stimulant,” Ruiz said in a statement issued by the Major League Baseball Players Association. “I apologize to my teammates, the Phillies organization and the Philadelphia fans. I will serve the imposed 25-game suspension to begin the season and I look forward to returning to the field and working toward bringing a championship back to Philadelphia in 2013.”
Ruiz will be eligible to participate in spring training, including exhibition games.
“The Phillies fully support Major League Baseball’s drug program,” the team said. “We are disappointed by the news of this violation of the program. We will support Carlos in an appropriate manner and move forward to achieve our goal to play championship-caliber baseball in 2013.”
Erik Kratz will likely begin the 2013 season as Philadelphia’s starting catcher while Ruiz serves his suspension. Kratz, a career minor-leaguer, filled in nicely when he finally got a chance after Ruiz went down with a foot injury. Kratz hit .248, but had nine doubles, nine homers and 26 RBIs in only 141 at-bats. Kratz also threw out 45 percent of base-stealers (15 of 33).
Still, losing Ruiz hurts a lineup that struggled mightily last year. Ruiz moved up from his usual No. 8 spot and took over for an injured Ryan Howard as the team’s cleanup hitter for a chunk of the season. He batted fifth after Howard returned in July.
The Phillies, who finished 81-81 after winning five straight NL East titles, have several holes to fill. Only Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins are certain regulars. Utley, though, didn’t play until late May in 2011 and late June in 2012 because of chronic knee injuries.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. hopes to add a starting center fielder, another starting outfielder and a third baseman either through free agency or trades. Now he’ll also need a backup catcher for Kratz for the first month. Brian Schneider served as the team’s primary backup the last three seasons, but only batted .212 in 122 games.
The Phillies have two top prospects catching in the minors. Sebastian Valle hit .253 with 17 homers and 58 RBIs in 80 games at Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Tommy Joseph, acquired in the trade that sent Hunter Pence to San Francisco, hit .257 with 11 homers and 48 RBIs for the Giants’ and Phillies‘ Double-A affiliates.
Ruiz became the eighth player suspended this year under the major league testing program, the second for amphetamines following Baltimore shortstop Ryan Adams. The eight suspensions are the most since 2007.
This had to be Ruiz’s second positive test for a stimulant. An initial positive for a stimulant does not trigger a suspension, only that the player must undergo follow-up testing.
There have been 102 suspensions this year under the minor league testing program.
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- HURT: Wilson and Obama ... 100 years apart, but so alike
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
- Eric Cantor rejects latest Obama immigration outreach
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
- EXCLUSIVE: FBI blocked in corruption probe involving Sens. Reid, Lee
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.