By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Phillies hadn’t even played a game yet in what promised to be a season-making or -breaking 10-game homestand when the news hit and went viral: Phillies second baseman Freddy Galvis has been suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball, the commissioner’s office announced Tuesday afternoon.
MLB says Galvis tested positive for a metabolite of Clostebol, which is a performance-enhancing substance, a violation of MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspension is effective immediately.
“It’s disappointing, but in these situations, we fully support the program and the decision, and at the same time, we fully support the player,” Phils’ General Manager Ruben Amaro said. “We just want him to get healthy and get back on the field for us.”
Galvis, 22, was hitting .226 and had three home runs, 24 RBIs and scored 14 runs. Galvis is currently on the disabled list with a back injury. His last appearance came in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 6th, when he was taken out of the game with what resulted in a fractured vertebra in his lower back. Galvis will begin serving his suspension immediately.
But the news couldn’t have come at a worse time for the reeling Phillies, who sit in last place in the National League East, have lost 12 of their last 15 games and are nine games behind the first-place Washington Nationals. Sitting nine games out of first place is the largest distance the Phillies have been out of first in the NL East since they trailed the New York Mets by 16.5 games on September 14th, 2006.
Galvis, in a sense, denied using any illegal PEDs, issuing the following statement:
“A trace amount of a banned substance—80 parts in a trillion—was detected in my urine sample. I am extremely disappointed in what has transpired. I cannot understand how even this tiny particle of a banned substance got into my body. I have not and never would knowingly use anything illegal to enhance my performance. I have always tried to follow the team’s strength and conditioning methods, listen to the trainers, work out hard and eat right. Unfortunately, the rules are the rules and I will be suspended.
“I’d like to apologize to my all my fans, especially here in Philadelphia and back home in Venezuela, to my teammates and to the Phillies organization. I am looking forward to putting this behind me, rehabilitating my back and returning to the Phillies as soon as possible to try to help them win another World Series.”
The Phillies issued the following statement in response to Major League Baseball’s suspension of Freddy Galvis:
“The Phillies continue to believe in and endorse Major League Baseball’s drug policy. We also support Freddy Galvis in his determination to put this matter behind him and we look forward to his return as a productive member of the Phillies as soon as possible.”
“We’ll have to deal with it and move forward; as far as I know the [50-game suspension] starts right now,” Amaro said. “I’ve spoken with him. He’s disappointed. The most important thing right now is to get him healthy again, and to get him back on the field when it’s appropriate. We believe in the kid, I believe in him. I still think he has a great future for us moving forward.”