Union to Phillies players: Watch what you buy

CLEARWATER — A year later, the message was different. Instead of telling Phillies players they should be safe taking over-the-counter dietary supplements, officials from the players' association told the team to beware.

The warning came after Phillies reliever J.C. Romero tested positive for a banned substance in the summer and was slapped with a 50-game suspension that begins on opening day.

Romero tested positive for androstenedione after taking 6-OXO Extreme, an over-the-counter supplement he bought in New Jersey. Androstenedione was not included on the supplement's ingredients list.

"What we do is give the best information we have, and up until then we had absolutely no reason to believe that there would essentially be products that violated the law out there and were sold over the counter," Donald Fehr, the union's executive director, said Saturday after his annual meeting with Phillies players. "That turned out not to be the case. So now the advice we give has changed."

Fehr told the players that they can call a Major League Baseball hotline if they have questions about a supplement, or they can send the product to the league for testing. They can also consult a list of approved supplements at nsf.org/certified/BannedSub/listings.asp.

Romero had hoped to avoid a suspension because he did not know the supplement he took contained a banned substance. An arbitrator heard his appeal and upheld the suspension.

Romero said his suspension was addressed by union officials. "They said it was a bad arbitration decision," he said.

Yanks: Posada ailing

TAMPA — Yankees C Jorge Posada was scratched from the starting lineup against the visiting Twins because of minor soreness and weakness in his surgically repaired right shoulder.

Posada was scheduled to be the DH before being dropped from the lineup about an hour before game time.

"I'm not concerned at all," said Posada, who had shoulder surgery July 30. "I wanted to play to tell you the truth. I don't feel it hitting."

Posada felt some soreness when he held the bat over his head while in the on-deck circle during Thursday's game against the Blue Jays. He also played in Friday's game with Minnesota.

Posada has not played behind the plate this spring, but both he and manager Joe Girardi still feel that he will be able to catch for the first time on the original target date of March 15.

Jays: Ryan battered

DUNEDIN — RHP Roy Halladay cruised through his first spring training start. Blue Jays closer B.J. Ryan had a much tougher time.

Halladay pitched two shutout innings, but Ryan failed to get through the third in the 6-3 loss to the visiting Braves. Ryan recorded just two outs, allowing two hits and four runs. He walked three and struck out none.

"It wasn't anything big and glaring," he said. "You miss a couple of pitches here and there and give up a hit and then it kind of gets away from you. But you just kind of take it as it is. … In terms of where I think I need to be and where I am, I think it's closer than it looks."

Ryan may face the Blue Jays his next time out, pitching for the U.S. team that will compete in the World Baseball Classic. The U.S. team plays Toronto in a warmup game Wednesday.

"There are good days and bad days," Ryan said.

The Teams

Blue Jays: Dunedin Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Tickets: Call toll-free 1-888-525-5297 or (727) 733-0429; or online at bluejays.com

Phillies: Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. Tickets: Call (727) 467-4457 or online at phillies.com

Yankees: George M. Steinbrenner Field, 1 Steinbrenner Drive, Tampa. Tickets: Call (813) 879-2244 or online at yankees.com

Union to Phillies players: Watch what you buy 02/28/09 [Last modified: Saturday, February 28, 2009 9:22pm]

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