38 Suspended For Steroids

By John Manuel
April 4, 2005


The steroid scandal that dominated baseball headlines during the offseason and spring reached down into the minor leagues Monday, as Major League Baseball announced 38 suspensions from drug tests for minor leaguers.

And there likely will be more to come. These results were generated by 925 tests in spring camps in Arizona and include one player suspended for offseason testing. Test results from spring camps in Florida have yet to be made public. Thirty-seven of the suspensions were for 15 days; Athletics catcher David Castillo received a 60-day suspension as a repeat offender. Under MLB's guidelines, a player is suspended for 60 days for a third steroids violation.

The top prospect on the list is A's outfielder Javi Herrera, who ranked third on Oakland's Top 10 Prospects list and No. 68 on BA's Top 100 prospects list. He hit .331-12-47 with 23 stolen bases for short-season Vancouver last year and was the Northwest League's MVP. He was one of five A's suspended,

Other recognizable names on the list include former big league lefthander Damian Moss and big league catcher Robert Machado. Also suspended was catcher Ryan Christensen, a 1999 first-round pick. Eight Mariners were suspended, as were seven Cubs, including infielder Matt Craig, the organization's No. 26 prospect, and lefthander Carlos Vasquez, a former member of the 40-man roster.

“We’ve tested players internally for years and tried to do our best to educate players on performing enhancing drugs for years,” Mariners vice president of player development and scouting Benny Looper said. “But it comes down to the individual responsibility to follow through. We are extremely disappointed with our players who have been suspended. While we support those players, we also support the efforts of Major League Baseball to rid baseball of performing enhancing drugs.

“With the new (policy) of releasing names publicly, it should serve as a deterrent not only among players today, but for years to come.”

Five Angels players were suspended, including first baseman Baltazar Lopez, the organization's No. 12 prospect. Five Rangers also were suspended, with three of the five released in spring training. The organization's director of minor league operations, John Lombardo, declined comment on the suspensions.

Cardinals outfielder Sal Frisella was presumably the player suspended for an offseason positive test, as he was the one player from a team with a Florida-based spring training home who was suspended.

The 38 suspended players:

Player, Position Organization 2004 Statistics
Elvis Avendano, rhp Athletics 7-4, 2.95 (Modesto)
Lizahio Baez, of Rangers .262-4-10 (Spokane)
Oscar Bernard, c Cubs .250-2-12 (Boise)
David Cash, rhp Cubs 1-0, 1.59 (Iowa)
David Castillo, c Athletics .246-9-59 (Kane County)
Troy Cate, lhp Mariners 2-5, 6.35 (San Antonio), 3-0, 2.61 (Inland Empire)
Robinson Chirinos, 2b Cubs .241-7-39 (Lansing)
Ryan Christianson, c Mariners .280-1-13 (San Antonio), .258-6-24 (Tacoma)
Willie Collazo, lhp Angels 6-10, 4.56 (Arkansas)
Francisco Cordova, rhp Angels 2-5, 5.37 (Provo)
Renee Cortez, rhp Mariners 2-5, 4.44 (San Antonio)
Matt Craig, 3b Cubs .275-20-62 (West Tenn)
Jason DiAngelo, rhp Rockies 0-0, 3.86 (Visalia), 1-7, 3.78 (Asheville)
Jose Espinal, rhp White Sox 8-2, 3.48 (Winston-Salem)
*Willy Espinal, rhp Rangers 1-0, 4.30 (Spokane)
Omar Falcon, c Mariners .222-5-24 (Everett)
*Alex Francisco, rhp Angels DNP
Sal Frisella, of Cardinals .263-5-26 (Peoria)
Jesus Guzman, 3b Mariners .310-6-71 (Inland Empire)
Justin Hatcher, c Rangers .289-3-29 (Clinton), .333-0-0 (Oklahoma)
Clay Hensley, rhp Padres 11-10, 4.30 (Mobile)
Javier Herrera, of Athletics .331-12-47 (Vancouver)
Billy Hogan, 3b Mariners .164-0-6 (Fort Wayne), .236-3-22 (Eugene)
Kervin Jacobo, 3b Padres .241-11-55 (Lake Elsinore)
Ryan Leahy, ss Angels .305-0-8 (Provo), .266-1-4 (Cedar Rapids)
Baltazar Lopez, 1b Angels .314-9-35 (Cedar Rapids)
*Robert Machado, c Rangers .317-3-20 (Ottawa), .151-1-3 (Baltimore)
*Jesus Medrano, 2b Cubs .251-3-19 (Portland), .235-1-5 (Pawtucket)
*Jacobo Meque, lhp Padres 1-1, 4.56 (Billings)
Damian Moss, lhp Mariners 0-1, 16.88 (Tampa Bay), 5-9, 5.87 (Durham)
Luis Perez, of Athletics .271-4-41 (Kane County)
*Kevin Reinking, c Cubs .171-3-8 (Visalia), .223-3-18 (Burlington)
*Chris Russ, rhp Rangers 0-0, 0.00 (Palm Beach)
*Mayobanex Santana, 3b Athletics .219-1-9 (Lancaster), .309-1-18 (Modesto)
Nathan Sevier, rhp Padres 0-0, 3.10 (Lake Elsinore), 0-0, 1.47 (Mobile)
*Darwin Soto, rhp Mariners 4-4, 3.21 (Mariners)
Carlos Vasquez, lhp Cubs 6-5, 3.87 (Daytona)
Neil Wilson, c Rockies .240-7-48 (Asheville)