MLB lifts 100-game suspension for Alfonzo
Similar circumstances to Braun case lead to similar result
NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball announced on Monday that it has reversed the 100-game drug-related suspension of Rockies catcher Eliezer Alfonzo."Alfonzo's grievance challenging his suspension raised issues that were nearly identical to those resolved in the Arbitration involving Ryan Braun," according to the statement. "It is not anticipated that any other future cases will be impacted by the circumstances raised in the grievances of these two players."
Later in the day, MLB dismissed Shyam Das, the arbitrator who made that decision.Alfonzo, who was in the Rockies' Minor League system at the time of his second suspension, is immediately available to play. Braun, the left fielder for the Brewers and reigning National League Most Valuable Player, had his suspension overturned for alleged use of a performance-enhancing drug this past February. The appeal was heard by a three-man panel that included Das, Weiner and Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president of labor relations and human resources. Das, who cast the decisive vote, ruled that there were inconsistencies in the collection and delivery process of one of Braun's urine samples that tainted the case. He said that barring unforeseen and unusual circumstances, the sample should have been dropped off at a FedEx office on the same day it was collected. Because it was a Saturday and FedEx couldn't guarantee next-day delivery until Monday, the collector, Dino Laurenzi Jr., kept the sample in his refrigerator. Manfred was particularly upset by Das' decision at the time.
In August 2008, Alfonzo, then a member of the Giants, was suspended for 50 games for use of a performance-enhancing drug. According to the Joint Drug Policy between MLB and the Players' Association, a second positive test would lead to a 100-game suspension. A third would lead to a lifetime suspension with the possibility of an appeal a year later. Alfonzo was the only member of a 40-man roster who had been suspended for a second time.Since the Braun and Alfonzo cases, MLB and the union have removed any ambiguity in the drug policy relating to the collection and delivery of urine samples for testing. There was no appeal process in the Alfonzo case.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.