Tampa Bay outfielder Alex Sanchez won't appeal his 10-day suspension for violating major league baseball's doping policy, saying he was tripped up by a change in laws that made a supplement he took illegal.
Sanchez was the first player penalized under the tougher rules put in place last month.
"I used an over-the-counter supplement that I purchased before the laws banning certain substances changed on Jan. 15," Sanchez said in a statement. "If I am guilty, I am guilty of not taking the initiative to learn more about the contents of what I was taking. Once my agent informed me that I had tested positive, I then started finding out what was in my supplements. Then, and only then, did I find out about the particular ingredients of this supplement."
Sanchez's suspension began on Monday, when Tampa Bay played Toronto in its season opener. Because suspensions for violating MLB's rules on performance-enhancing drugs are without pay, Sanchez will lose US$32,787 of his US$600,000 salary.
"He did not knowingly take any banned substance," said Michael Weiner, general counsel of the Major League Baseball Players Association. "We respect Alex's decision to forgo an appeal, and he has our full support."
Several substances that previously were available over the counter were made prescription drugs as of Jan. 15 under government legislation, and were added to MLB's banned list. Under MLB's drug rules, the sport doesn't announce the specific substance a player tested positive for.
Thirty-eight players were suspended on Monday for violating MLB's minor league drug policy. In addition, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Wednesday that three of their minor leaguers were suspended under the drug rules.
Jose Vidro led off the 10th inning with a home run Thursday that led the Washington Nationals to their second straight win, 5-4 over the Philadelphia Phillies.
"To come back and win, that's a pretty good feeling because it shows we matured a lot," Vidro said.
Vidro had three RBIs and Brad Wilkerson went 4-for-5, a day after hitting for his second career cycle.
Washington, which moved during the offseason after 36 years as the Montreal Expos, completed its first series by winning two of three.
"That's what we want to do, win series," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. "It would've been disheartening if we lost."
Phillies reliever Tim Worrell allowed Nick Johnson's tying RBI groundout off the first-base bag in the eighth, and Vidro homered off Rheal Cormier (0-1). Chad Cordero (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings.
Reds 6, Mets 1
In Cincinnati, Aaron Harang (1-0) allowed only one single in 6 1-3 innings, and D'Angelo Jimenez had a pinch two-run double off Kazuhisa Ishii (0-1) as Cincinnati downed New York.
With a combined four-hitter, the Reds improved to 3-0 for the first time since 1990, when they won their first nine and swept Oakland in the World Series.
New manager Willie Randolph's Mets hadn't lost their first three games since 1964.
Braves 4, Marlins 2
In Miami, Tim Hudson lasted just five innings in his Atlanta debut, but that was long enough to earn the victory against Florida.
A throwing error by Gold Glove second baseman Luis Castillo led to two Atlanta runs. Braves backup catcher Eddie Perez hit an RBI double off A.J. Burnett (0-1).
Hudson, a former 20-game winner acquired in a trade after six years with Oakland, allowed six hits and four walks but just one run. He stranded seven runners, induced two double plays and helped himself with a run-scoring single for his second career RBI.
He departed for a pinch-hitter leading 4-1 and improved his career record to 93-39.
Dan Kolb pitched the ninth for his second save. Atlanta won the series despite being outscored 12-6.
Dodgers 6, Giants 0
In San Francisco, Jeff Weaver had his best stuff in his first start, pitching eight sharp innings and adding an RBI single to lead Los Angeles over San Francisco.
Jeff Kent had three hits, drove in a run and scored twice against his former team, and Jason Phillips hit a run-scoring single. Weaver (1-0) struck out two and walked one.
Kelly Wunsch completed the five-hit shutout and the Dodgers took the first series between the division rivals. Los Angeles knocked San Francisco out of playoff contention on the final weekend last fall.
Brett Tomko (0-1), pitching on his 32nd birthday, hung tough through five innings. He ran into trouble in the sixth, getting tagged for three runs and four hits.
Padres 1, Pirates 0, 12 innings
In San Diego, Xavier Nady, held out of the starting lineup because of strep throat, drew a bases-loaded walk from Rick White (0-1) in the 12th to give San Diego a win over Pittsburgh in its home opener.
Pinch-hitter Geoff Blum started the winning rally with a single and went to second on Ramon Hernandez's single. Both advanced on Khalil Greene's sacrifice bunt. Sean Burroughs was intentionally walked to load the bases.
The Pirates, who struck out 15 times, dropped to 0-3.
Rudy Seanez (1-0) got out of a bases-loaded jam in the 11th and struck out three in 1 1-3 innings.
Padres starter Jake Peavy, who led the majors with a 2.27 ERA last season, struck out 10 in 6 2-3 innings. He allowed just four hits.
San Diego's Eric Young separated his right shoulder making a catch against the center-field fence.
Casey Blake, Coco Crisp and Ronnie Belliard hit ninth-inning homers off Shingo Takatsu, and the Cleveland Indians rallied from a five-run deficit to beat the Chicago White Sox 11-5 Thursday behind Victor Martinez's go-ahead single in the 11th.
The White Sox built a 5-0 lead by the fourth inning against starter Cliff Lee but were stymied by Rafael Betancourt, David Riske, Bob Howry, Arthur Rhodes (1-0) and Matt Miller, who combined for 7 2-3 innings of three-hit, shutout relief.
"I'm sick to my stomach right now, but there's nothing you can do about it," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Blake's homer leading off the ninth cut the deficit to 5-3, and Takatsu gave up two-out homers to Crisp and Belliard on consecutive pitches.
"Whenever I come in against these guys, I can tell they really want to hit off me." Takatsu said through a translator.
Luis Vizcaino (0-1), Chicago's seventh pitcher, gave up a two-run single to Martinez in the 11th that put Cleveland ahead 7-5.
Tigers 7, Royals 3
In Detroit, Jason Johnson (1-0) allowed five hits in 6 2-3 shutout innings, Ivan Rodriguez had four hits and Rondell White homered after Kansas City starter Zack Greinke was knocked out of the game by a line drive.
Mike Wood (0-1), the third of five Kansas City pitchers, allowed three runs and four hits in 2 2-3 innings.
Greinke was hit by a line drive off the bat of Carlos Guillen and left with a bruised right forearm. He expects to make his next scheduled start.
Athletics 5, Orioles 1
In Baltimore, Eric Byrnes hit a three-run homer to break an eighth-inning tie, and Oakland received a strong pitching performance from newcomer Danny Haren to beat Baltimore.
Mark Kotsay had two hits and scored a run for the Athletics, who rebounded from an opening-day loss to take two of three from Baltimore.
Brian Roberts led off the Orioles' first inning with a home run, but Baltimore managed only four hits.
A steady rain drenched the field from the outset and limited attendance to 16,395 -- the smallest crowd in the 14-year history of Camden Yards.
Haren, who came to the A's in the trade that sent Mark Mulder to St. Louis, allowed one run and three hits in six innings in his American League debut. Baltimore's Erik Bedard gave up one run and three hits in seven innings.
Ricardo Rincon (1-0) got the win with a perfect seventh, and Kiko Calero finished with two scoreless innings.
Steve Kline (0-1) took the loss.
Angels 7, Rangers 6
In Anaheim, California, Steve Finley drove in the winning run with a ninth-inning single and Bengie Molina hit a three-run homer, leading Los Angeles over Texas.
Scot Shields (1-0) got the win despite allowing a tying RBI single by Michael Young in the top of the ninth.
Brian Shouse (1-1) opened the bottom half by walking Jeff DaVanon and Vladimir Guerrero before Garret Anderson grounded into a force at second.
Finley, who jumped from the National League West champion Dodgers to the AL West champion Angels as a free agent in December, bunted foul on an attempted squeeze play, then slapped the next pitch to left to score DaVanon.
Alfonso Soriano homered and David Dellucci hit a two-run double for the Rangers, who dropped two of three to the Angels and haven't won a season-opening series since 1999.
Players in Major League Baseball born outside the US reached a record 29.2 percent on opening day, a slight increase following a decrease last year.
There were 91 players from the Dominican Republic, 46 from Venezuela and 34 from Puerto Rico, the commissioner's office said Thursday. Mexico was next with 18, followed by Canada (15), Japan (12), Cuba and Panama (six each), South Korea (five), Australia and Colombia (two each) and Aruba, Curacao, Nicaragua, Taiwan and US Virgin Islands (one each).
The percentage had dropped from 27.8 in 2003 to 27.3 last year following six straight seasons of increases.
The Washington Nationals, with 16, had the most players on the list, followed by the Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets with 13 each.
Bob Kennedy Sr. dies
Former Chicago Cubs manager and White Sox utilityman Bob Kennedy Sr. died Thursday in Arizona. He was 84.
A funeral service for Kennedy will be held Monday in Mesa, Arizona, said David Speakman, director of the Bunker Family Funeral Homes, which is handling the arrangements.
During his 16-year major league playing career, the infielder/outfielder hit .254 with 63 home runs and 514 RBIs for the White Sox, Cleveland, Baltimore, Detroit and Brooklyn. Kennedy managed the Cubs from 1963-1965 and went 182-198. He also spent four seasons, beginning in 1977, as the team's general manager.
He was the father of former major league catcher Terry Kennedy, a four-time All-Star who helped lead the San Diego Padres to the World Series in 1984, as well as the San Francisco Giants in 1989. Terry Kennedy is the manager of the minor league San Diego Surf Dawgs of the Golden Baseball League.
Hideki Irabu retires
Former New York Yankees and Hanshin Tigers pitcher Hideki Irabu has decided to retire, Hanshin officials said Friday.
The 35-year-old right-hander asked the Tigers at the end of March to organize a press conference to announce his retirement but the two sides have yet to agree on a date.
Irabu, who started his career with the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan's Pacific League, joined the Yankees in 1997 on a US$12.8 million, four-year contract.
He spent three seasons with the Yankees before being shipped to the Montreal Expos in 2000. Irabu's best season with the Yankees was in 1998 when he went 13-9 with a 4.06 ERA.
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