Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Four pitchers suspended for positive drug tests

Four minor league pitchers were suspended 50 games each by the commissioner's office Tuesday for violating baseball's minor league drug program, the first penalties since the sport toughened its rules during the offseason.

Two of the pitchers were in the Cincinnati Reds' organization: Ramon Ramirez and Justin Mallet. Also suspended were Waner Mateo of the New York Mets and Ryan Rafferty of the Kansas City Royals.

None have ever pitched in the majors.

Mallet was penalized for testing positive for a drug of abuse. The others tested positive for performance-enhancing substances.

The penalty this year for an initial positive test was increased from 15 games to 50 for players with minor league contracts. For major leaguers, the punishment was lengthened from 10 days to 50 games.

There were 81 suspensions last season for violations of the minor league drug program.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Coco Crisp has fracture on left hand Red Sox center fielder sidelined at least 10 days

Boston Red Sox center fielder Coco Crisp has a fracture on the base of his index finger on his left hand and will be sidelined for at least 10 days.

Crisp's hand will be immobilized in a splint for 10 days and then reevaluated, team medical director Dr. Thomas Gill said Monday. No surgery is needed to treat the injury, sustained when he tied to steal third base Saturday in Boston's 2-1 victory at the Baltimore Orioles.

"Once sufficient healing has occurred, Coco can begin batting and return to baseball activities," Gill said in a statement.

The 26-year-old Crisp, a switch-hitter who throws right-handed, was acquired in January from Cleveland after Johnny Damon signed with the New York Yankees. Crisp is batting .333 (8-for-24) with a double, triple and six runs scored.
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