MLB, union rescind Alfonzo's drug ban

Associated Press  |  Last updated May 14, 2012
Major League Baseball and the players' union agreed to drop the 100-game suspension imposed on Colorado Rockies catcher Eliezer Alfonzo for a positive drug test because of the same procedural issues that came up in the Ryan Braun case. Alfonzo missed 48 games -- the final 15 of last season and the first 33 of this year. Braun's 50-game suspension for a positive drug test was overturned in February by arbitrator Shyam Das after Braun's lawyers argued his urine sample was not handled in the manner specified by baseball's drug agreement. The collector took the sample on a Saturday and did not drop it off immediately at a Federal Express office. He testified that because it would not have been sent until Monday to the drug-testing laboratory outside Montreal, it would make more sense to store the sample at his home over the weekend than in a FedEx office. The commissioner's office said Monday the suspension had been dropped ''by mutual agreement of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association.'' ''Alfonzo's grievance challenging his suspension raised issues that were nearly identical to those resolved in the arbitration involving Ryan Braun,'' MLB said. ''It is not anticipated that any other future cases will be impacted by the circumstances raised in the grievances of these two players.'' Colorado designated Alfonzo for assignment on May 7 and sent him outright to Triple-A Colorado Springs in the Pacific Coast League two days later. MLB and the union have been negotiating changes to their drug-collection procedures as part of the process of finalizing a new labor contract. Das, baseball's arbitrator since 1999, was told last week by management that he is being terminated. He remains an NFL arbitrator and is to hear the NFL players' union grievance against the league in the New Orleans Saints bounties case Wednesday.
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