Drug violation nets Mets pitcher Mota 50-game ban
NEW YORK -- Reliever Guillermo Mota was suspended for 50 games Wednesday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, becoming the third player penalized this year for violating Major League Baseball's toughened drug policy.
In announcing the suspension, the commissioner's office did not say why Mota was suspended. His failed drug test was confirmed by a baseball official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the specifics weren't included in the release.
The 33-year-old pitcher was 4-3 with a 4.53 ERA this season with Cleveland and the New York Mets, who acquired him from the Indians on Aug. 20.
Mota, who gave up a tying two-run triple to Scott Spiezio in the seventh inning of Game 2 of the National League Championship Series, filed for free agency Monday. His suspension will start at the beginning of next season.
"I have no one to blame but myself," Mota said in a statement that did not explain how he ran afoul of baseball's drug rules. "I take full responsibility for my actions and accept MLB's suspension. I used extremely poor judgment and deserve to be held accountable.
"To my teammates and the entire Mets organization, I am sorry. I truly regret what I did and hope that you can forgive me. To baseball fans everywhere, I understand that you are disappointed in me, and I don't blame you. I feel terrible and I promise this is the first and last time that this will happen. I am determined to prove to you that this was one mistake."
Mota's agent, Adam Katz, said the pitcher intends to play next season.
"He is anxious to get back to work," Katz said. "I believe he'll be a better person and a better player moving forward."
Mota has a 26-27 record with seven saves in eight major league seasons with the Montreal Expos, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida, Cleveland and the Mets.
In 2005, an initial suspension under Major League Baseball's drug policy was for 10 days but players and owners, under congressional pressure, agreed last November to lengthen the penalties. Pitchers Yusaku Iriki and Jason Grimsley also were suspended for 50 games this year.
Iriki tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance while on the Mets roster during spring training, and Grimsley was penalized after authorities tracked a package containing human growth hormone to his home.
Iriki pitched one game for Class A St. Lucie of the Florida State League, then went 4-8 with a 4.70 ERA in 16 starts and three relief appearances with Triple-A Norfolk of the International League. He filed conditionally for free agency Monday.
Grimsley already had been released by Arizona when he was suspended and does not appear to want to pitch in the major leagues again.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press