- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 2, 2005

In the wake of Rafael Palmeiro’s 10-day suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy, Washington manager Frank Robinson said the Nationals were warned during spring training about the risk of taking nutritional supplements.

“I don’t know what showed up in [Palmeiro’s] body, I really don’t,” Robinson said. “But the players have been told and they have been educated on it. Anything you’re going to put in your body, don’t put it in there, OK? Run it by the doctors first. Let them look at it, take it out, and then he’ll give you an answer on if it’s OK to take this or that.”

Nationals catcher Brian Schneider, the club’s player representative, believes MLB still has a long way to go with its steroid policy.

“As long as you can’t get in trouble by things that are sold over the counter … I think that’s one concern,” Schneider said. “I don’t take any now. I’m not going to take a chance. I was taking [over-the-counter] stuff for a while.”

Schneider said the league needs to do a better job of identifying banned substances.

“There is a lot of gray area [about what is banned],” Schneider said. “There are so many supplements out there that you can buy at a [General Nutrition Center] or somewhere else and you never know what you are taking. You are so nervous and scared to take stuff now because you don’t want a test to come back positive.”

Back in the lineup

Schneider and second baseman Jose Vidro were back in the Nationals’ lineup. Schneider, who is plagued with a sore right shoulder, sat out Sunday’s 4-2 win at the Florida Marlins and used Monday’s off day for additional rest.

“You sacrifice one day before a day off and you get two days out of it and everything should be OK,” said Schneider, who came into last night’s game hitting .279 with seven home runs and 30 RBI.

“Two days in the year … you have no idea how much that is. Not just for your body, but for your arm and everything else. I did some exercises and got some strength back. My strength wasn’t there the other day.”

Meanwhile, Vidro sat out the Nationals’ last two games with an ailing right quadriceps. Vidro, who missed 54 games earlier this season because of a torn left ankle tendon, said he experiences pain when he runs.

“Those three days off really helped a lot,” Vidro said. “That’s what I needed. Fielding is no problem, hitting is no problem, it’s just running.”

Spivey targets September

Injured second baseman Junior Spivey thinks he can return to the Nationals’ lineup before the season is over. Spivey broke his right forearm in a freak accident July 9 at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park while hitting off a batting tee before the game.

Spivey, who was acquired June 10 in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers for disgruntled pitcher Tomo Ohka, is targeting September for his return. Spivey filled in admirably when Vidro was on the disabled list.

“I want to get back there as soon as possible,” Spivey said. “I only had a soft cast, never a full hard cast, and was able to still move my wrist around and didn’t have any tightness.”

Spivey has been rehabbing in Arizona and plans to accompany the Nationals next week when they embark on a 13-game, four-city road trip, the club’s longest of the season.

“Hopefully, I can give the team a little change, kind of turn things around,” Spivey said.

Extra bases

Ryan Drese, instead of pitching tonight, will start Saturday against the Padres. Tony Armas Jr. will pitch tonight with John Patterson going tomorrow. … Schneider will appear at the ESPN Zone today for a short question and answer session and sign autographs beginning at noon. … The Mobile Negro Leagues Baseball Museum traveling exhibit will stop today at RFK Stadium. Buck O’Neil, 93, a legendary Negro League player, will sign autographs.

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