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Reds' Volquez banned 50 games after positive test

Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez tries to pickoff Melky

Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez tries to pickoff Melky Cabrera at first base in the 3rd inning. As the Reds played the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Friday, June 20, 2008. Newsday photo/Paul J. Bereswill Photo Credit: NEWSDAY/Paul J. Bereswill

Edinson Volquez, the promising young and currently injured Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher, has been suspended 50 games, the result of a positive test for an illegal performance-enhancing drug.

Volquez, 26, underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last August, and therefore was unlikely to pitch during the first half of this season, anyway. But he won't be paid his salary, about $130,000, as he serves his penalty.

The pitcher released a statement attributing his test result to a drug he took to try to start a family with his wife.

Manny Ramirez offered a similar explanation last year, although the Dodgers' slugger actually was suspended for a non-analytical positive, which is based on evidence other than a laboratory test.

"As a result, I tested positive when I reported to spring training,'' Volquez said. "Although I understand that I must accept responsibility for this mistake and have chosen not to challenge my suspension, I want to assure everyone that this was an isolated incident involving my genuine effort to treat a common medical issue.''

The Yankees' Sergio Mitre served a 50-game suspension last year while on the disabled list. With AP

Lee's suspension overturned

Major League Baseball has dropped its five-game suspension of Mariners pitcher Cliff Lee for throwing over the head of the Diamondbacks' Chris Snyder in a spring-training game.

MLB's vice president of administration John McHale accepted Lee's appeal that offseason foot surgery combined with an abdominal strain could have led to the errant pitch.

Lee, who is on the disabled list, is scheduled to make his Mariners debut on May 2.

Cameron, Ellsbury on DL

The slumping Red Sox put outfielders Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury on the 15-day disabled list before last night's game against the Rangers. Cameron is out because of a lower abdominal strain. Ellsbury has a bruised chest after colliding with third baseman Adrian Beltre on April 11. - AP

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