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J.C. Romero gets ‘justice,’ settles tainted supplement suit

Big League Stew

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J.C. Romero finished the 2011 season with the Colorado Rockies. (AP)

Relief pitcher J.C. Romero said he wanted to clear his name after getting suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball in 2009 after flunking a drug test. So, he did what we do best in America: He filed a lawsuit.

Nearly three years later: Great success!

The litigious left-handed specialist tells the New York Daily News that "justice is served" after his attorneys settled a suit against the makers and distributors of an otherwise approved supplement called 6-OXO Extreme. GNC, the Vitamin Shoppe, Ergopharm and Proviant Technologies had been put on the hook by Romero after a drug test found androstinedione in Romero's system in August 2008, when he pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies. (You might remember andro from such classics as "Quit Looking in Mark McGwire's Locker!")

Romero, who won two games in the 2008 World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, always claimed he had been wronged by a tainted supplement.

"I didn't cheat," said Romero, 35. "Some other people were being negligent and I had to pay the price. But I've been using this to educate other players. I haven't been able to be the same since I was suspended. I didn't believe the suspension could affect me the way it did.

"The amount of money (in the settlement) isn't relevant. What is relevant is that people know my side. Some fans questioned my integrity. Now there is some closure and I can say the 2008 World Series was legit. Now I can focus on dominating for another five years, hopefully."

Someone with a 4.07 ERA and 372 walks allowed in 649 career innings calling himself "dominating" might be a tad misleading, though Romero does dominate left-handed batters. That's why the St. Louis Cardinals signed him in December. Still, this story leaves several questions unanswered, such as:

• Did all of the companies settle? Did some? One? Did it (or they) settle simply to make the suit go away, or was there something more?

• How did the supplement get tainted in the first place?

• Is this going to make a difference to MLB in how it doles out punishment in the future, given that it's possible that otherwise legal supplements can be tainted with illegal substances?

• Will Ryan Braun's only hope for justice come from retaining the firm of Briskman and Briskman?

• Is anyone going to make a joke about how mediocre Romero's career would be without PEDs, if they're so great?

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