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04/20/10 8:45 PM ET
Players surprised, disappointed by Volquez
Cincinnati's clubhouse reacts to right-hander's suspension
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Players in the Reds clubhouse were trying to process the news as word filtered in that one of their teammates was suspended for violating Major League Baseball's performance-enhancing drug policy. Right-hander Edinson Volquez was levied a 50-game suspension on Tuesday and admitted in a statement that he took medication for a "common medical issue and [to] start a family." Volquez is currently in Arizona rehabilitating from reconstructive elbow surgery. When reached inside the clubhouse, players were not aware of the exact nature of the drug Volquez took, but all veteran pitcher Aaron Harang could do was shake his head. "It's his fault. Obviously, he didn't make a great decision," Harang said. "He didn't do his homework in figuring out when he can take and what he can't take. He is trying to rehab, and that happens. "It's not like the information isn't out there. It's just a matter of doing the research." Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo received a text message from a friend just before he arrived at Great American Ball Park. Arroyo, who has been outspoken in the past on the issue of PEDs, didn't see the news coming. "I was surprised because a lot of the younger guys in the game haven't been exposed to that stuff, and also his being a guy that threw hard his whole career," Arroyo said. "I've never seen him being one to be meticulous about his diet or taking any pills at all." The one thing that didn't surprise Arroyo much was the issue of a Dominican player being caught taking something that was banned by the Major Leagues and getting caught. "There's a certain mentality in getting out of a place that is poverty ridden and trying to excel," Arroyo said. "You put me in the Dominican Republic as a 16-, 17-year-old and somebody said, 'Eat this and you'll probably end up a millionaire in the big leagues,' I'd probably do it. I definitely think Latin American countries have it pretty readily accessible. I'm talking [prior to] 2003-04. Since then, it's been pretty tight-knit around everywhere you go. It's getting harder and harder even to get visas from these countries. All those types of loopholes are starting to close around the world." Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs, who is in his second year as big leaguer, wanted to reserve his comments about Volquez until having more information. However, Stubbs said players are well-educated about the rules. "We have numerous meetings with disclaimers," Stubbs said. "They actually give you a list of stuff that is 100-percent banned and stuff that is not banned but also not on the list of things you can take. Things can always happen, and there are slipups. As much support and guidance we get from our strength-and-conditioning people, I personally wouldn't take something I was unsure about without OK'ing it from them first." The last Major League player suspended under the current policy, which was adopted by MLB in 2006, was Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez, who served a 50-game suspension last season. Coincidentally, Ramirez and the Dodgers were in Cincinnati on Tuesday to begin a three-game series. However, Ramirez had no interest in discussing the Volquez situation. "No thank you, sir," Ramirez said. Dodgers manager Joe Torre believed it was up to the players to police themselves about what they put into their bodies. "Major League Baseball is intent on gaining the trust back from the fans. We have rules that everybody has to live by," Torre said. "They're constantly reminded by our training staff."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.