Ponson tested positive during '09 Classic
Stimulant use bans righty from international play for two years
Royals right-hander Sidney Ponson has drawn a two-year suspension from international competition by the International Baseball Federation as a result of having tested positive for a stimulant at this spring's World Baseball Classic.Ponson, currently on Kansas City's disabled list with a strained pitching elbow, is the second Major Leaguer in two days whose ban by IBAF has surfaced.
Royals general manager Dayton Moore said that the IBAF suspension has no effect on Ponson's status with the club."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." Like Cubs catcher Geovany Soto, whose two-year international suspension traced to a positive test for marijuana during the Classic, Ponson is not subject to suspension by Major League Baseball. Ponson, whose positive test was for Phentermine, will be treated as a first-time offender under the MLB Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, subject to a medical review and a fine. Moore said that particular drug could be taken by a Major League player if he obtains prior authorization by MLB.
Ponson's agent, Barry Praver, released this statement: "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 has a 1-5 record for the Royals, who had signed him as a free agent on March 17 off his Classic performance for the Netherlands.
He is currently on an injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Omaha.