It looks like Carlos Ruiz of the Philadelphia Phillies picked the wrong time to take amphetamines. Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that the All-Star catcher has been suspended for 25 games for testing positive for Adderall, a banned stimulant that can be used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But if it's not used for that, or any other doctor-approved treatment, it can just get you buzzed, or higher. Ruiz apparently got no such waiver from MLB, as many other players have, to use Adderall.
The suspension was triggered, reporter Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, because Ruiz tested positive a second time:
Under MLB's program, Ruiz was subject to six unannounced follow-up tests over the 12 months after the initial violation, in addition to the standard random testing. A first positive test for a stimulant, unlike steroids, does not result in suspension. Instead, the increased testing is implemented. Ruiz would be suspended for 80 games should a third positive test emerge.
Say it ain't so, Chooch! Ruiz, the catcher on the Phillies' '08 World Series champion, is probably the most popular player on the roster. Or, to be more precise, he's the player on the Phillies that most of their tough-loving fans have the fewest issues with. They'll probably be madder at Ruiz for being dumb enough to get caught as much as for breaking the rules.
Ruiz issued a statement through MLB, via Twitter, apologizing. It sounds like a lawyer wrote it:
"I am sincerely regretful for my mistake in taking a prohibited stimulant." - Carlos Ruiz
— MLB (@MLB) November 27, 2012
" ... for a second time," he failed to add. Oh, Chooch. A late bloomer, Ruiz has become one of the better catchers in the majors over the past five seasons. He turns 34 in January and will be a free agent after the 2013 season, so this incident might complicate how the Phillies address his future. It also complicates, as Gelb says, how they plan to improve the club during the offseason. And they need a lot of improving, having gone 81-81 in '12 and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
Erik Kratz would appear to be the starting catcher in Ruiz's absence, but this goes beyond a team subbing for a typical starting catcher. Ruiz was — by far — the best hitter in Philly's lineup in 2012 (even if it was a so-called "career year.") Ruiz, in many ways the most dependable Phillies player, has made GM Ruben Amaro's job much tougher.