Sidney Ponson of the Kansas City Royals tested positive for a stimulant taken during the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Ponson will now face a two-year suspension from International competition.
It has been reported that the substance that Ponson tested positive for is Phentermine, an appetite suppressant to help reduce weight in excessively overweight patients. Ponson has been known to battle weight issues on and off over the course of his major league career.
Ponson who is currently on the disabled list with a strained pitching elbow is the second Major Leaguer who has been banned by the IBAF. According to the Kansas City Royals GM Dayton Moore, this has no effect on his status with the team. "It was a diet pill under the prescription of a doctor and [Ponson] was very forthright and made the testing body aware of what he was taking," Moore said, "so we were aware of this a long time ago."
Chicago Cubs catcher Geovany Soto was the other player recently banned by the IBAF, due to a positive test for marijuana, and like Ponson, will not face suspension from Major League Baseball. Ponson who’s positive test was for Phentermine, will be treated as a first time offender under the MLB Drug Prevention and Treatment Program but will be subject to a fine and review.
Ponson’s agent commented on the situation, "During the offseason, Sidney consulted with a physician about weight loss and was prescribed a common appetite suppressant. Under the belief that this was sufficient, he did not seek further authorization, which he now understands would have been granted. Notably, Sidney voluntarily disclosed the use of the appetite suppressant at the time of testing. Nevertheless, Sidney accepts the penalty imposed even though he certainly was not seeking to enhance his performance nor does anyone involved in the matter believe so."
Ponson who was signed as a free agent by the Royals after the WBC on March 17, currently has a 1-5 record and is on a rehab assignment with the Royals Triple-A affiliate Omaha Royals.
Maury Brown contributed to this article
Devon Teeple is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide's Baseball General Manager Class.
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