38 minor-league players suspended for violating steroids policy

By wire services
Published April 5, 2005

Seattle's Damian Moss and Ryan Christianson were among 38 players suspended Monday for violating baseball's minor-league steroids policy, a group that included eight players from the Mariners' organization.

Moss pitched in five games for the Devil Rays last season, starting two, before being released from Triple-A Durham in August.

Oakland's David Castillo was suspended for 60 games, the penalty for a third violation. All the others were suspended for 15 games, the ban given to first offenders.

Seven of the 38 positives came from the Cubs organization, five each from the Angels, A's and Rangers, and four from the Padres. There were two from the Rockies, and one each from the Cardinals and White Sox. The commissioner's office said one suspension was the result of offseason testing and the rest stemmed from 925 tests conducted during spring training.

Last year, about 1.7 percent of the minor-league tests for steroids were positive, baseball spokesman Pat Courtney said. Courtney did not know whether some teams had more players than others tested during spring training.

POLL: SALARIES BIGGEST PROBLEM: More Americans think players' high salaries, not steroids, are the biggest problem for the sport, according to an Associated Press-AOL poll. The average player's salary was $2.3-million last year. While that was a slight decline from the previous year, it's twice what it was 10 years ago. Salaries were named baseball's "biggest problem" by 33 percent of those surveyed, followed by steroids at 27 percent, according to the telephone poll.

CUBS: 3B Aramis Ramirez agreed to a $42-million, four-year contract that includes a mutual option for 2009. Ramirez, 26, batted .318 with 36 homers and 103 RBIs last season and would have been eligible to become a free agent after 2005.

METS: RHP Kris Benson was put on the 15-day disabled list with a strained chest muscle.

MARINERS: SS Jose Lopez , one of the team's top prospects, will have surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in his left hand. The team also released injury-plagued LHP Ryan Anderson , a former No.1 pick.

YANKEES: RHP Kevin Brown rejoined the team after spending two days in Georgia working with a physical therapist on his bothersome back. He was placed on the DL for the 12th time in his career Sunday with a flare-up of the injury that has plagued him the past few seasons.

OBIT: Marius Russo , a former Yankees pitcher who played for four pennant-winning teams and two World Series champions, died at age 90 in Fort Myers.