Indians' reliever returns from 10-day suspension

Updated: July 18, 2005, 11:57 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Cleveland Indians: Indians reliever Rafael Betancourt was reinstated to the active roster on Monday after serving his 10-day suspension for violating baseball's drug policy.

Betancourt was suspended July 8 after testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance. He was already on the disabled list with a shoulder injury when his suspension was announced.

To make room for Betancourt, the Indians optioned reliever Fausto Carmona to Triple-A Buffalo.

Last week, Betancourt, who is 2-2 with a 2.21 ERA in 29 games, said he would appeal the suspension. He acknowledged taking an over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medicine while pitching winter ball in his native Venezuela.

Betancourt is the sixth player suspended under Major League Baseball's policy, which began in March. There have been 77 players suspended under the minor league program.

Carmona was recalled from the minors Sunday but didn't appear in the Indians' series finale against the Chicago White Sox. He went 6-5 with a 4.07 ERA in 14 starts at Double-A Akron and 2-0 in three starts with the Bisons.

Atlanta Braves: The Braves activated third baseman Chipper Jones from the 15-day disabled list, and the five-time All-Star homered on his first trip to the plate against the San Francisco Giants.

Jones, batting fifth in the Braves' lineup for the first time since 1995, drove a 1-1 pitch from Kevin Correia into the right-field stands more than 420 feet away in the first inning.

The homer snapped Jones' 0-for-18 slump -- the second-worst of his career, behind an 0-for-23 skid in 2000. The drive, which followed a two-run shot by Andruw Jones, put the Braves up 3-0.

Chipper Jones was in a 1-for-27 slump when he went on the DL on June 6 with a partially torn ligament in his left foot. He was batting .282 with seven homers and 26 RBI this season before missing the previous 35 games.

The only switch-hitter in baseball history with a career .300 average and 300 homers, Jones is the third big-name player to rejoin the injury-plagued Braves in the last three days.

Right-hander Tim Hudson returned Saturday to pitch against the New York Mets after missing a month with a strained muscle in his side, and left-hander Mike Hampton returned Sunday from a six-week absence with a strained left forearm.

To make room on their roster, Atlanta optioned right-hander Roman Colon to Triple-A Richmond. Colon, who made four recent starts as a fill-in for injured teammates, is 1-5 with a 5.28 ERA this season.

Colon made the trip to San Francisco before learning of his assignment. He sat at his locker in street clothes while his teammates played cards and stretched before the game.

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox placed second baseman Mark Bellhorn on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb and recalled infielder Kevin Youkilis from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Bellhorn was injured diving for Jason Giambi's grounder in the fourth inning of Sunday night's game against the New York Yankees. Bellhorn is batting .216 with 20 doubles, seven homers and 28 RBI. He leads the major leagues with 109 strikeouts.

Youkilis hit .286 with one homer and nine RBI in 26 games over two previous stints with the Red Sox this season.

Colorado Rockies: The Rockies activated right-hander Jose Acevedo from the 15-day disabled list, and he threw one inning of scoreless relief to earn the win in a 5-4 victory over the Nationals.

Acevedo, who missed 43 games with a right groin strain, allowed one hit in the eighth inning.

Colorado sent left-hander Bobby Seay outright to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Sunday to open a roster spot.

Acevedo was 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA in 18 innings over 15 relief appearances this season.

Outfielder Matt Holliday was expected to join the Rockies in Washington, where they opened a three-game series Monday night. The team planned to activate him Tuesday.

Holliday went on the disabled list June 10 with a broken right pinkie finger.

Chicago White Sox: Righthander Orlando Hernandez was activated from the 15-day disabled list, which should make the league-leading pitching of the White Sox even better.

Known as "El Duque," Hernandez went on the DL on June 15 for the second time this season with tightness in his right shoulder. He is slated to start Monday night's game against Detroit.

In his last start June 14, the 35-year-old Hernandez allowed six runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings of a 10-4 loss to Arizona.

Signed as a free agent in December, Hernandez is 7-2 with a 4.88 ERA this season. He also was on the DL in May with shoulder soreness.

Last year, Hernandez was limited to 15 starts after recovering from shoulder surgery and went 8-2 with a 3.30 ERA for the New York Yankees. In his career, the Cuban refugee is 68-42 with a 4.03 ERA and has a sterling 9-3 mark in the postseason.

The White Sox haven't exactly missed Hernandez, going 18-7 in his absence to improve to 61-29, the best record in the major leagues. Buoyed by All-Stars Mark Buehrle and Jon Garland, they lead the American League with a 3.52 ERA.

In another move to bolster the pitching staff, the White Sox designated struggling righthander Shingo Takatsu for assignment.

The first Japanese-born player to appear with the club, Takatsu, 36, has been a major disappointment in his second year with the White Sox. After saving 19 games last season, Takatsu entered the season as the team's closer but quickly lost the job.

In 31 appearances this year, he is 1-2 with a 5.97 ERA and eight saves in nine opportunities.

Chicago also optioned first baseman Ross Gload to Class AAA Charlotte after his successful rehabilitation stint. Gload, who was placed on the DL on April 30 with left shoulder inflammation, hit .154 in seven games with the White Sox.

Baltimore Orioles: Lefthander Erik Bedard had a lot to do with the Orioles' quick start. The Orioles are hoping his return will key a strong finish.

Bedard, who has missed nearly two months with a knee strain, was activated from the 15-day disabled list Monday in time to start against the Minnesota Twins.

The 26-year-old Bedard went on the DL on May 26 with a strained MCL in his left knee. Prior to his injury, he was one of the hottest pitchers in the American League and led the Orioles in nearly every major pitching category.

Baltimore bolted to a surprising 30-16 start behind Bedard, who went 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA and 52 strikeouts in nine starts. Over his last seven starts, his ERA is 0.82.

Without Bedard, the Orioles (49-42) have gone 19-26 and relinquished first place in the American League East Division. They have not reached the postseason since 1997.

As a rookie in 2004, Bedard was 6-10 with a 4.59 ERA.

San Diego Padres: Second baseman Mark Loretta and first baseman Phil Nevin were activated from the disabled list, bringing the NL West leaders closer to full strength.

Loretta, who had been on the 60-day DL, and Nevin are expected to be in the starting lineup when the Padres open a series at the New York Mets on Tuesday.

The Padres also purchased the contract of right-hander Clay Hensley from Triple-A Portland.

To make room on the roster, right-handed reliever Rudy Seanez was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 8, with a strained right shoulder, outfielder Ben Johnson was optioned to Triple-A Portland and left-handed reliever Dennys Reyes was put on waivers for the purpose of his unconditional release.

Triple-A pitcher Miguel Asencio also was put on waivers for the purpose of his unconditional release, clearing a 40-man roster spot for Loretta.

Loretta had surgery on May 24 to repair a strained ligament in his left thumb. He was injured while sliding headfirst into first base against Atlanta on May 18.

Nevin was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 26, retroactive to June 21, with a strained stomach muscle. He's batting .268 (69-for-257) with nine home runs and 47 RBI.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.

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