Outfielder's penalty for steroids ends Thursday

Updated: April 13, 2005, 12:15 AM ET
Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Alex Sanchez wants to put behind him the stigma of being the first player disciplined for violating baseball's new policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Alex Sanchez

The Tampa Bay outfielder worked out with his teammates at Tropicana Field before Tuesday night's game against the Baltimore Orioles and said he's looking forward to his 10-day suspension ending on Thursday.

"I don't have much to say about it. The big thing for me here is I'm here. I want to play baseball again. I want to help this team win some games," said Sanchez, who had been working out at the team's minor league camp for a week.

"I'm going to put everything behind me. I'm coming over here to play ball, and I don't want to think about it any more. I'm ready. I'm waiting for my chance to come back and play."

Sanchez has blamed his positive drug test on a supplement he bought over the counter before Jan. 15, when it was made a controlled substance. His suspension began on April 4, when Tampa Bay played its season opener, and will cost him $32,787 of his $600,000 salary.

On Monday, Colorado Rockies outfielder Jorge Piedra became the second player identified under the major leagues' tougher new rules and began serving a 10-day suspension.

Piedra, sent to the minors last week before the suspension was announced, told the Rocky Mountain News he took prescription painkillers to ease sore hamstrings and ankles.

Under the new policy that took effect last month, steroids and other performance-enchancing substances are the only drugs to draw a 10-day suspension. Baseball officials and the players' union agreed they would not disclose the exact substance for which a player tests positive.

Devil Rays general manager Chuck LaMar said he expects to activate Sanchez when his suspension ends.

"Alex had to pay his debt to major league baseball, and as of Thursday will have," LaMar said.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press