Tigers' Perez tests positive for stimulant for third time

Updated: August 4, 2007, 12:05 AM ET
Associated Press

DETROIT -- Tigers infielder Neifi Perez was suspended for 80 games Friday after testing positive for a third time for a banned stimulant, a penalty that finishes his season.

Neifi Perez

Perez

Perez was suspended for 25 games on July 6 when he tested positive for a second time. Under baseball's labor contract, a player who tests positive for the first time is sent for counseling.

Perez has been the only player suspended by baseball for stimulants since they were banned before the 2006 season. His first suspension had been set to end after Friday night's game against the Chicago White Sox, but Tigers president Dave Dombrowski wouldn't say whether Perez would have been restored to the active roster absent the new positive test.

Under baseball's labor contract, a player cannot be disciplined multiple times for a positive test stemming from the same use of a banned substance, meaning Perez had to take a prohibited stimulant more than once.

Another positive test would lead to a suspension to be determined at the discretion of commissioner Bud Selig, with Perez having the right to have an arbitrator review the penalty.

His initial suspension cost him $396,175, and the second will cost him $792,350 -- a total of $1,188,525 of his $2.5 million salary. He will miss the final 54 games of the regular season and finish serving the suspension next year, if he is signed.

Because of his initial positive test, Perez is subject to at least six additional tests over the next year.

The 34-year-old Perez is hitting .172 with one homer and six RBIs in 64 at-bats for the defending AL champions. His biggest contribution was when he started a spectacular double play to end the eighth inning of Justin Verlander's no-hitter.

Perez won a Gold Glove at shortstop in 2000 with Colorado and also has played for Kansas City, San Francisco and the Cubs.

Detroit manager Jim Leyland and Tigers shortstop Carlos Guillen wouldn't discuss Perez before Friday night's game, and Perez's agent, Adam Katz, also declined comment. Dombrowski said Perez had been in Detroit but wasn't sure if he remained in town.

Tampa Bay pitcher Juan Salas has been the only other player suspended this year under the major league testing program, a 50-game penalty announced May 7 following a positive test for a banned performance-enhancing substance. Twenty players have been suspended this year under baseball's minor league program.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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