Page last updated on Wed Apr 01 18:33:36 EDT 2015
Wed, 16 May 2012 03:54 AM EDT

MLB dropped its 100-game suspension of Colorado Rockies catcher Eliezer Alfonzo for a positive drug test thanks to the same procedural controversy that came up in the Ryan Braun case. Baseball lines

Alfonzo is able to play straight away, according to a person acquainted with the decision on condition of anonymity because no statement had been made.

Typically a backup during 6 major seasons, Alfonzo became the 1st player postponed two times for performance-enhancing drugs under the Major League Baseball testing program when the commissioner’s office declared a 100-game penalty last September.

Alfonzo appealed and was informed within the past week that MLB had lifted the ban. The explanation: an argument over the storage and shipment of his urine sample like the one which led straight to Braun’s 50-game drug penalty getting overturned by an arbitrator in February, the individual related.

The person was not acquainted with express details regarding the chain of custody of Alfonzo’s specimen.

Alfonzo’s deal was renewed by the Rockies in March, but he wasn’t paid while he was on the restricted list during the suspension. He’s currently assigned to Triple-A Colorado Springs in the Pacific Coast League.

Alfonzo gets the minimum $480,000 salary in the majors and $86,473 in the minors.

Braun, last year’s National League MVP, tested positive in October for elevated testosterone. His sample was collected on Oct. 1, a Sat. and the day he and the Milwaukee Brewers opened the NL playoffs. The collector did not send the sample to the lab until Monday, thinking it might be safer at home than at an office during the weekend.

Baseball’s drug settlement states that “absent strange conditions, the samples should be dispatched to the lab on the same day they’re collected.”

Braun appealed and when his ban was thrown out by arbitrator Shyam Das, MLB executive VP Rob Manfred asserted management “vehemently” disagreed with the decision, which made the Milwaukee slugger the very 1st major league player to successfully challenge a drug-related penalty in a grievance.

During the hearing, Braun’s side challenged the chain of custody from the time the urine sample was picked up by Comprehensive Drug Testing Inc. To when it was sent, almost 48 hours later, to a World Anti-Doping Agency-certified lab outside Montreal, 2 people with knowledge of the case asserted. They spoke on condition of anonymity mainly because what happened in the hearing is supposed to be confidential.

Alfonzo’s penalty was dropped without a hearing before an arbitrator, the person related. The catcher missed the last 15 games of last season and Colorado has played 33 games this year.

Under the big league drug agreement, 1st offenses are arbitrated before any public statement — but extra offenses are litigated after a suspension is announced.

Alfonzo likewise was postponed for 50 games in April 2008 while a member of the SF Giants.

Alfonzo is a .240 career hitter with seventeen homers and 67 RBIs in 591 at-bats over 193 major league games. He has additionally played for San Diego and Seattle.

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