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

Cardinals pitcher Romero settles tainted supplement lawsuit

It seems we can be all guilty at times of expending more energy than is justified in publicizing bad news. Speaking of guilty, when accusations are levied against a professional athlete, more times than not they are assumed to be valid, regardless of proof provided.

So it is in baseball and the subject of performance enhancing drugs. Years of seeing gargantuan sluggers, reading the Mitchell Report and more have made us cynical. Just ask Jeff Bagwell, who despite Hall of Fame-type numbers has received less than 50 percent of the Hall vote. The reason stated by many writers is the mere suspicion that the former Houston first baseman was a steroid user.

In the long-running PED case of J.C. Romero, there is news, in fact closure. Yet one cannot determine the specifics of its resolution. What we do know is that the pitcher has settled his lawsuit over a tainted, legal supplement that had led to his suspension by Major League Baseball.

In late 2008, Romero, then of the Philadelphia Phillies, tested positive for the presence of a banned substance. He received a 50-game suspension that was served at the start of the 2009 season. In between, he pitched for the Phils as they won the World Series.

The left-hander blamed the problem on a tainted supplement. Tests ordered by the Players Union confirmed his charge, yet the suspension stood. In April 2009, Romero sued the drug’s suppliers. Among them were companies once owned by a chemist from Illinois who served time in federal prison as part of the BALCO case.

Before the case went to trial, the parties settled last month, Romero’s lawyer explained to the New York Daily News.

Romero told the Daily News he believes that “justice is served” and that the resolution “gives closure to the fans in (Philadelphia).” Some angry fans in the City of Brotherly Love considered the Phillies’ 2008 title to have been tainted by Romero’s participation.

However, with no specifics of the legal settlement having been released, including responsibility accepted and financial terms, it seems any of the parties could celebrate victory. Perhaps Romero is just weary after spending the better part of three years trying to clear his name.

The 35-year-old, a native of Puerto Rico, signed a one-year contract with St. Louis on December 15.

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