TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Devil Rays outfielder Alex Sanchez was suspended 10 days for violating baseball's new drug policy, the first player publicly identified under the major leagues' tougher rules.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
GM HR RBI R SB AVG
79 2 26 41 19 .322
The suspension begins Monday when Tampa Bay opens its season against Toronto, the commissioner's office said Sunday.
Under the new policy that took effect last month, steroids and other performance-enchancing substances are the only drugs to draw a 10-day suspension. Baseball officials and the players' union agreed they would not disclose the exact substance for which a player tests positive.
Sanchez said he was surprised by the suspension, adding that he uses milkshakes and multivitamins to build his energy -- and blaming the positive test on something he bought over the counter.
"I'm going to fight it, because I've never taken steroids or anything like that," said Sanchez, who was released by Detroit in mid-March and signed by the Devil Rays.
Sanchez, 28, who hit .322 with 19 stolen bases in 79 games for the Tigers last season, said he was drug tested while he was with Detroit. He was to be the Devil Rays' center fielder on opening day.
Devil Rays general manager Chuck LaMar said the team would have no comment on the suspension.
"It's suprising," manager Lou Piniella said. "That's all I have to say on that."
It already had been an emotional month for Sanchez. The center fielder was reunited with his mother for the first time in 11 years in mid-March. Five days later, he was released by the Tigers.
Sanchez left Cuba on a raft 11 years ago, leaving his family behind. On March 10, Sanchez reunited with his mother and brother in Miami, where he has a house with his wife and twin boys. Sanchez's mother and brother escaped from Cuba by boat and spent time in Mexico and Texas before traveling by bus to Miami.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.