Dominicans most suspended baseball players in the US, It's in their Blood

Dominicans on Drugs - Melky Cabrera Associate Banned from Ballparks, Drug Tests Under Scrutiny

( - Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has banned Melky Cabrera's associate Juan Nuñez from all team clubhouses for his involvement in a plan to cover up Cabrera's positive drug test.

MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred notified teams of the action Tuesday in a memorandum to club presidents, chief executive officers and general managers.

Nuñez, a consultant for Cabrera's agents at ACES Inc., took responsibility for fabricating a website that the San Francisco Giants All-Star outfielder was relying on as he prepared for a grievance to challenge a drug test that was positive for testosterone.

Cabrera dropped his grievance last week after MLB uncovered the scheme, and he was suspended for 50 games.

"Please be advised that commissioner Selig has directed that all major league clubs are prohibited from granting Juan Carlos Nuñez access to their clubhouses or other nonpublic areas," Manfred wrote in the memo, which was obtained by The Associated Press. "Nuñez is affiliated with ACES Inc. sports agency. Nuñez is currently under investigation for misconduct related to our recent matter under the joint drug program.

"In addition, Nuñez is not certified as a player agent by the Major League Baseball Players Association. Clubs should not conduct contract negotiations with Nuñez or otherwise deal with him regarding players on the 40-man roster."

Seth Levinson, who along with his brother Sam runs ACES, said Nuñez was a paid consultant for the company.

The memo was first reported by  Meanwhile, the New York Daily News reports that investigators from Major League Baseball, traveled to the Dominican Republic, acquired a jar of the alleged substance from the phony website set up by Cabrera's camp, and sent the substance to the World Anti-Doping Agency's testing labs in Utah.  

Weeks later it was discovered that the substance was fake.

MLB says lower ratios may trigger more drug tests

Baseball and its players' union say urine samples in drug tests may be subject to additional analysis even if the ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone is under the level that typically is considered a positive.

The joint statement Monday came five days after San Francisco outfielder Melky Cabrera, the All-Star game MVP, was suspended for 50 games for testosterone.

Most drug-testing programs consider a T/E ratio of 4-to-1 or higher to be a positive. But for several years in baseball, the policy has been that samples are potentially subject to further scrutiny if the ratio is below 4-to-1. The usual ratio in adults is 1-to-1.

"The fact that a sample has a T-E ratio below 4:1 does not mean that sample is free from further analysis," the joint statement said. "The characteristics of every sample, including the T/E ratio, are analyzed at the WADA-certified laboratory in Montreal and the laboratory determines which samples are subjected to Carbon Isotope Ratio (CIR) testing. All samples with a T/E ratio above 4:1 are subjected to CIR but so are many samples with a T/E ratio less than 4:1."

The CIR test determines if testosterone came from outside the body.

"The procedures used in the Montreal laboratory make more extensive use of CIR than those used in other labs and there is no doubt that baseball's program detects testosterone positives that other programs would fail to detect," Christiane Ayotte, director of the World Anti-Doping Agency-certified laboratory in Montreal, said in a statement released by MLB and the union.

Disparity in Latinos' testing positive

( - Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon were the latest big-leaguers suspended for violating baseball's drug policy. And the latest of Latino descent.

"I like to trust Major League Baseball that it's a random test," said Amaury Pi-Gonzalez, a longtime Bay Area Spanish-speaking radio play-by-play man, "but I'm starting to get a little suspicious that so many Hispanics are getting suspended."

Since 2005, when baseball began suspending big-leaguers for performance-enhancing drugs, 24 of the 39 suspensions have been handed to players born in Latin America, including eight of the past 10.

Considering 24 percent of players on Opening Day rosters (207 of 856) were born in Latin America, the 62 percent of suspended players is wildly disproportionate.

Pat Courtney, MLB's senior vice president of public relations, said the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program calls for names to be pulled randomly from a computer for testing and an independent administrator to oversee the process.

"The key to a strong drug-testing program is it has to be random, which our joint drug program is," Courtney said.

Dominicans account for a whopping 16 of the 24 suspensions, including three of five this year: Cabrera, Colon and Giants reliever Guillermo Mota. A fourth, Freddy Galvis of the Phillies, is from Venezuela.

In the minors, 82 players have been suspended for PEDs this year, including 38 from Latin America, 25 of them from the Dominican.

"We've worked very hard in both the Dominican and other Latin American countries on education to make people aware of the issue of PEDs," Courtney said, "and we continue to work on it to this day."

Why the high percentage of Latino suspensions? There are theories:

-- Desperation to escape poverty.

-- The desire to support a circle of family and friends.

-- Easy access to PEDs.

-- Bad advice.

-- A lack of education.

In March 2010, Commissioner Bud Selig sent consultant Sandy Alderson (now the Mets' general manager) to the Dominican to focus on the "implementation of reform to the sport's operations," a widespread task covering identity fraud and awareness of performance-enhancing drugs and testing.

Now, Courtney said, prospects have better knowledge of the drugs' dangers and consequences. He noted percentages of positive drug tests among Dominican minor-leaguers are down from 11 percent in 2004 to 1.3 percent in 2011.

Still, the percentage of positive tests for Latinos compared with other players remains out of whack.

"A lot of Hispanics come from very poor backgrounds," Pi-Gonzalez said. "You can never make this kind of money in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic. But they have to be responsible for their actions."

Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez, a native of Cuba, told reporters before Friday's Giants-Braves game that he'd like to see stricter penalties and more education of young Latinos, including schooling conducted by the teams that have academies in Latin America.

"Maybe that's where the education is," Gonzalez said. "Maybe those kids don't even know what they're taking. ... And who's giving you stuff? The list that they gave us, there are some products in GNC that you can't take."

That wasn't the excuse for Cabrera, 28, and Colon, 39. Both of their careers were floundering two years ago, and both had alarming statistical spikes to their careers in 2011 and, more so, 2012 before getting busted for elevated levels of testosterone.


Dominican Watchdog Note | Dominicans like to cheat, they feel good about it. They feel more proud of cheating like any hard work and it goes for all industries, sports or businesses. It's just in their blood!!!

Go back | Date: 26 Aug 2012
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