Philadelphia, PA, United States (4E Sports) – Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz has been suspended 25 games for testing positive for a prohibited stimulant for the second time.
The Major League announced that the catcher was suspended for using an amphetamine. Under league policy, a player tested positive for a prohibited stimulant for the first time is not suspended and the results remain private.
Ruiz will serve the suspension at the beginning of the 2013 season, meaning he can return April 28 against the New York Mets at Citi Field.
“I am sincerely regretful for my mistake in taking a prohibited stimulant,” Ruiz said in a statement. “I apologize to my teammates, the Phillies organization and the Philadelphia fans. … I look forward to returning to the field and working toward bringing a championship back to Philadelphia in 2013.”
Ruiz, who will forfeit about $770,000 of his $5 million salary, had a career season in 2012, hitting .325 with 32 doubles, 16 home runs, 68 RBIs, a .394 on-base percentage, a .540 slugging percentage and a .935 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
“The Phillies fully support Major League Baseball’s drug program,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement. “We are disappointed by the news of this violation of the program. We will support Carlos in an appropriate manner and move forward to achieve our goal to play championship-caliber baseball in 2013.”
Erik Kratz likely will open the season as the team’s starting catcher in place of Ruiz.
Kratz hit .248 with nine doubles, nine home runs, 26 RBIs and an .809 OPS in 50 games last season. However, he suffered a slump towards the end of the regular season, hitting just .181 with two doubles, two home runs, nine RBIs and a .515 OPS in 23 games.
The Phillies also have prospects Tommy Joseph and Sebastian Valle as possible backup catcher as Brian Schneider is not expected to return.
Despite the suspension, the league will allow Ruiz to participate in Spring Training workouts and Grapefruit League games in Florida in February and March.
He also will be allowed to take batting practice before the gates open in regular-season games. He is eligible to begin a rehab assignment five days before the end of his suspension, which would be April 23.