The hits just keep on coming for the Philadelphia Phillies in a season where they have been decimated by injuries.
According to an official tweet from Major League Baseball, rookie second baseman Freddy Galvis has been suspended for 50 games after testing positive for a banned substance known as Clostebol—a performance enhancing drug. Though the suspension will begin immediately, Galvis quickly took to the media to claim his innocence through an official statement, passed along by MLB.com's Todd Zolecki:
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.
Galvis came into the season ranked as the team's sixth-best prospect by the esteemed prospect gurus at Baseball America. After making the transition from shortstop to second base during spring training, he took over the starting job at second for the Phillies with Chase Utley still injured.
Though Galvis posted a mediocre slash line of .226/.254/.363 at the plate, he proved to be one of the team's more productive hitters, recording three homers, 15 doubles and 24 RBI. Most importantly, he was spectacular in the field, picking it clean with a .984 fielding percentage.
Galvis has been out of action since June 6 with an injury known as a Pars fracture. It is a crack in the vertebra that requires a lengthy healing process. The second baseman could be in a back brace for as long as six weeks and there is currently no timetable on his return from injury.
In response to Galvis' positive test, the Phillies released an official statement as an organization:
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.
In all reality, the news could be worse for the Phillies. Galvis' injury will keep him off the field for, at the very least, the majority of his suspension, and thanks to a loophole in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the suspension has minimal impact on Galvis' outside of his reputation.
Ruben Amaro Jr.'s response to the suspension seemed to reflect that "it could be worse attitude" as he was questioned by Zolecki, among other members of the media. Amaro admitted that he was "disappointed" about the outcome of the test, but that getting him "back onto the field" was the largest concern:
“It’s disappointing,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said in the Phillies dugout before tonight’s series opener against the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park. “We fully support the program and the decision. At the same time we support the player. We just want him to get healthy and get back onto the field for us. … We believe in the kid. I believe in him. I think he’s still got a great future for us moving forward.”
Asked if he believed Galvis’ claim of innocence by mentioning only 80 parts of the banned substance in a trillion were found in his system, Amaro said, “I don’t know anything about those numbers. It’s kind of foreign to me. As I said, I support the player. I can’t really comment on it because I don’t know much about it.”
The suspension will expire on Aug. 8, when the Phillies take on the Atlanta Braves.
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