Minor leaguer suspended for 100 games


NEW YORK (AP) – Tampa Bay Devil Rays minor league pitcher Matt Rico was suspended for 100 games Tuesday after testing positive for a drug of abuse. Rico is in extended spring training, and hadn’t played for a team yet this season.

He was Tampa Bay’s sixth-round draft pick in 2001 as an outfielder, but was converted to a pitcher last year. He had no record in eight games with short-season Class A Hudson Valley last year, finishing with a 2.53 ERA. The penalty for an initial positive test this year was increased from 15 games to 50 for players with minor league contracts, and the penalty for a second positive test rose from 30 games to 100.

For major leaguers, the punishment was lengthened from 10 days to 50 games – but any test for major leaguers is treated as a first positive test.

AP-ES-05-02-06 2105EDT