Colorado Rockies catcher Eliezer Alfonzo become the first player suspended twice for performance-enhancing drugs under the Major League Baseball testing program when the commissioner’s office announced a 100-game penalty. Alfonzo, a 32-year-old backup in his sixth big league season, was suspended for 50 games in April 2008 while a member of the San Francisco Giants.
“I am surprised by this positive test,” he said in a statement released by the Major League Baseball Players Association. “I learned my lesson in 2008 and have not taken any prohibited substances since then. With the union’s help, I intend to fight this suspension and look forward to appearing before the arbitrator in the near future.”
Alfonzo used a similar statement three years ago when he said he never took steroids but did take medicine for bronchitis while home in Venezuela. He is hitting .267 this season with one homer and nine RBIs in 75 at-bats. He has a .240 career average with 17 homers during a career than also included stints with San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners.
Baseball began testing with penalties in 2004. Under the current rules, a third violation would carry a lifetime ban. There have been 60 suspensions this year under the tighter minor league testing program. Three other 50-game penalties were announced Rockies right-hander Randol Rogers (Boldenone), Cincinnati Reds right-hander Cole Green (Methylhexaneamine) and Baltimore Orioles first baseman Rhyne Hughes (an amphetamine) also learned of their suspension which they will serve at the start of next season.