Eleven Suspended For Steroids

Major League Baseball announced 11 more minor leaguers from four
organizations have been suspended after testing positive for
performance-enhancing substances, headlined by three players with major
league experience, a highly-regarded White Sox prospect, and a former
Japanese League player. All 11 are first-time offenders and received 15
game suspensions.

The top prospect on the list is White Sox shortstop Robert Valido,
who turns 20 in four days and was ranked the No. 14 prospect in the
organization by Baseball America in the offseason. A fourth-round pick
in 2003 out of Coral Park High in Miami, Valido was batting .313-3-14
with 11 stolen bases in 31 games for high Class A Winston-Salem in the
Carolina League.

Other White Sox players receiving suspensions are two veterans:
first baseman Jorge Toca and righthander Tetsu Yofu. Athletics
lefthander Steve Smyth, a former Cubs prospect, was suspended, as were
three Rockies: including former Yankees righthander Christian Parker,
shortstop Jonathan Herrera and lefthander Marcus Mendoza. Four Giants
farmhands were also suspended: righthanders Josh Cram and Oscar
Montero, lefthander Brian Mazone and catcher Guillermo Rodriguez.

Toca, a former Mets prospect signed after defecting from Cuba,
appeared in 25 big league from 1999-2001, batting .259-0-5 in 27
at-bats. Listed at age 30, but thought to be 33, Toca was playing at
Triple-A Charlotte, batting .273-8-19 in 33 games. Yofu, 31, signed out
of Japan in January 2003, compiled a record of 17-15, 3.85 in 60 minor
league games, including a no-hitter for Triple-A Charlotte last year.
Yofu had pitched in just two games for Double-A Birmingham this year,
going 0-1, 7.11.

A 20-year-old Venezuelan, Herrera was batting .343-0-3 in seven
games for low Class A Ashville in the South Atlantic League. Parker,
29, was off to a sizzling 3-1, 1.41 start for Double-A Tulsa. He is
remembered for being the surprise winner of the Yankees’ fifth-starter
job out of spring training in 2001, but he lasted only one game before
succumbing to shoulder problems, which cost him the remainder of the
season and all of 2002.

Mendoza has a 7.15 ERA in 10 games for Double-A Tulsa.

Montero, a former Brewers and Cubs prospect signed out of the
independent Northern League in the offseason, was off to the best start
among the Giants suspended, striking out 26 in 16 1/3 innings split
between low Class A Augusta and Double-A Norwich.

Other Giants suspended: Rodriguez, 26, a strong-armed, no-hit
catcher; Cram, a 2001 fourth-round pick out of Clemson who was released
this spring; and Mazone, who pitched five years of indy league ball
before being signed by the Giants last year. Mazone was 1-2, 2.60 with
one save in 11 games at Double-A Norwich

Smyth, 26, was struggling at Triple-A Sacramento, with a 10.07 ERA
in 10 games. A fourth-round pick by the Cubs in 1999 out of Southern
California, Smyth appeared in eight games for the Cubs in 2001, going
1-3, 9.35.

It is of note that all 11 players suspended are from teams that
conduct their spring training in Arizona. A long-expected,
comprehensive list from the Florida camps, which is expected by many to
be larger than the first list of 38 from Arizona, has yet to