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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

And Maiques makes four and 13 suspended Cardinals

Major League Baseball announced on Friday that St. Louis Cardinals minor league reliever Kenny Maiques (Springfield – pictured) has been suspended 50 games due to a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The commissioner’s office said that Maiques tested positive for “a drug of abuse,” but did not disclose the specific drug.

It is similar wording and result from just one month ago when Quad Cities starting pitcher Deryk Hooker was handed down the same suspension for the same basic reason.

The pair join two other Cardinals farmhands currently suspended. They are catcher Juan Castillo (Extended Spring Training) and second baseman Wilfred Vivas (Venezuelan Summer League).

Since 2005, the Cardinals have seen 13 of their Major or Minor Leaguers face suspension for drug violations. That total ranks as tied for fourth-highest among the 30 organizations and five suspensions above the average of eight.

While all of the Cards 13 hailed from the minors, current Cardinal Rick Ankiel was mentioned in the Mitchell Report as was Troy Glaus, called out for actions before he joined the club. Neither faced any disciplinary action from MLB.

The list of suspended Cardinals players since 2005 follows. Announced reasons vary from performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) to specific substances to drugs of abuse, generally considered recreational drugs as opposed to PEDs.

Date Player Name Substance Length
4/4/2005 Sal Frisella PEDs 15 games
5/13/2005 Jeremy Cummings PEDs 15 games
4/18/2006 Yonathan Sivira PEDs 50 games
8/2/2006 Marcos Chavez PEDs 50 games
8/2/2006 Jonathan Gonzalez PEDs 50 games
2/20/2008 Scott Vander Weg PEDs 50 games
7/29/2008 Braulin Beltre Boldenone 50 games
7/29/2008 Andres Beras Boldenone 50 games
7/29/2008 Yedilson Pena Boldenone 50 games
8/25/2008 Juan Castillo Stanozolol 50 games
12/1/2008 Wilfred Vivas Methandienone 50 games
4/9/2009 Deryk Hooker Drug of Abuse 50 games
5/15/2009 Kenny Maiques Drug of Abuse 50 games

Though I have not dug into movement of suspended players in detail, I found it interesting to note the Cardinals also signed four former Seattle Mariners who had previously been suspended, including current Major League closer Ryan Franklin. (The others were Troy Cate, Ryan Christianson and Omar Falcon, none of whom are still employed by the Cardinals today.)

With all the attempts at education, the core issue is driven by decisions made by young men, not clubs and as such, this is not intended to be an indictment of any organization. Also, the number of additional users not caught is of course unknown. Still, being prominently mentioned on this list of total suspensions since 2005 is not where any club would like to be.

Number Clubs
3 Indians, Red Sox
4 Astros, Nationals
5 Brewers
6 Marlins, Phillies, Rays, Tigers, White Sox
7 Braves, Padres, Rockies, Twins
8 MLB average, (none), Angels, D-Backs, Orioles, Pirates
9 Blue Jays, Dodgers, Giants, Yankees
10 Athletics
11 Reds
12 Royals
13 Cardinals, Rangers
14 Mariners
15 Mets
16 Cubs
257 Total

(Note: “none” designates those players not a member of any organization at the time of their suspension.)

It is enlightening to scan the totals by team, with the Chicago Cubs bringing up the rear with the most players caught, 16, over five times the two clubs with the fewest suspensions, the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox at three each.

Of course, this simply indicates the organization of record at the time the player tested positive. For example, the furor over the Dodgers’ Manny Ramirez’ recent suspension may have been felt nearly as strongly in Boston, where he helped lead the Red Sox to two World Series championships as in his current employment location, Los Angeles.

Hearty tips of the cap are given to the Biz of Baseball blog and, among the sites where suspension details are maintained.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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