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MLB roundup: Cervelli denies PED use, Ruiz apologizes

The SportsXchange

Two catchers with alleged connections to performance-enhancing drugs took opposite positions Wednesday.

The New York Yankees' Francisco Cervelli denied using PEDs, saying that he only had a consultation with a South Florida wellness clinic linked to banned substances.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies' Carlos Ruiz issued an apology. In November, Major League Baseball handed him a 25-game suspension without pay for testing positive for an Amphetamine.

Cervelli said he regrets the decision to seek advice on a foot injury in March 2011 from Tony Bosch, who ran the Biogenesis clinic. He said he visited the clinic on the recommendation of an unnamed friend who was not a player.

"I went there for maybe some suggestions and that's it," Cervelli said, according to multiple reports. "I walked away with nothing in my hands. No supplements. I just went there and talked. That's it. I take my responsibility. Nobody put a gun to my head to go there. I realize now that it was a mistake to go there, but it already happened, so what can I do?"

Ruiz, speaking to media for the first time since the ban was announced in November, said he first cleared the air Tuesday with manager Charlie Manuel.

"I got on him," Manuel said. "I got on him good. ... I don't think he'll ever do it again, that's what I think."

The suspension is effective at the start of the 2013 regular season, but Ruiz can participate in spring training games.

--Mariano Rivera believes his comeback from a torn ACL is just about complete.

The Yankees' 43-year-old closer plans to be ready for Opening Day, recovered fully from a torn ligament in his right knee. The injury occurred in batting practice May 3 at Kansas City when Rivera was shagging fly balls in the outfield. He had surgery in June.

Rivera threw 25 pitches in the bullpen with no complications. He said he'd rate his knee and overall health at a 9 out of 10, and anticipates getting to full strength by April.

--Milwaukee Brewers slugger Corey Hart arrived at spring training on crutches, less than three weeks after having knee surgery with a timetable of mid-to-late May for his return to action

But Wednesday morning, the first baseman/outfielder said that his rehab was so far ahead of schedule that he could be back in uniform in late April if all goes well with the rest of his rehab.

"Everything has come faster than they thought it would come," Hart told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "They tell me I am (ahead of schedule). All my swelling is gone already. I have to get an MRI at six weeks (from surgery). If that shows the spot they fixed is healed then I can start regular rehab."

--The Cleveland Indians signed free agent pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka to a minor league contract with a non-roster invitation to the team's major league camp in spring training.

Matsuzaka, 32, struggled last season for the Boston Red Sox after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery in June 2011. The right-hander went 1-7 with an 8.28 ERA in 11 games.

--Johan Santana is planning to pitch for Venezuela in the upcoming World Baseball Classic but hasn't received the approval of his primary employer.

Santana, 33, started 21 games for the New York Mets last season, including a no-hitter on June 1 in his first season back from shoulder surgery. He was shut down in August with an ankle injury and inflammation in his back, and general manager Sandy Alderson said Wednesday the Mets haven't given Santana the authorization he needs to pitch in the WBC.

--Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Dustin McGowan, working his way back from his third shoulder surgery, is being watched closely after emerging from Tuesday's workout with a sore shoulder. Manager John Gibbons said McGowan played catch in the outfield but didn't throw off of a mound Tuesday.

McGowan signed a two-year contract in March 2012 but didn't make an appearance last season until September. He finished 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA in five games (four starts).
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