Say it ain't so...
According to CBS Sports' Danny Knobler, Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz has been suspended by Major League Baseball for 25 games for using amphetamines.
This is a huge blow for the Phillies, who rode Ruiz's top offense in 2012.
Amphetamines are stiumulants not in the same category as performance-enhancing drugs, but were banned by Major League Baseball in 2006. Ryan Adams of the Baltimore Orioles was also suspended for such use earlier this month. A report in 2009 by the New York Times suggested that use of the stimulants was still a problem in baseball.
The term "amphetamine" can refer to drugs people take to treat ADD and ADHD or the "greenies" that were popular in Major League Baseball in the 1970s. A Philly.com report identifies the drug of offense as Adderall, commonly used to treat ADD. Drugs such as Adderall are considered acceptable for use with the proper paperwork filed. Phillies infielder Kevin Frandsen served a minor-league suspension in 2011 for failing to properly disclose use of Adderall.
In the 2009 report, Dr. Gary Adler felt that the use of Adderall by baseball players was disproportionate to the general population:
"It seems to me as an internist, that's a disproportionate number of adults with ADD requiring stimulants — roughly 10% of the league. I've seen a lot of adults (as patients) and I can count on one hand the number of people I've seen with ADD".
Jayson Stark reported Ruiz's reaction via Twitter:
“I am sincerely regretful for my mistake in taking a prohibited stimulant. 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."
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com adds that for Ruiz to receive a suspension, he was caught once before:
"Suspension means Ruiz tested positive for amphetamines once before. Second positive carries suspension, first does not and is kept private."
So, Ruiz had a warning and yet still let himself be suspended by continuing use.
Look for the Phillies to consider adding another veteran catcher on a minor league deal to perhaps open the season with the Phillies. Erik Kratz alone won't cut it. Damn.