Yomiuri Giants infielder Luis Gonzalez filed an appeal Tuesday against the one-year suspension handed down to him the previous day by Nippon Professional Baseball for doping violations.
NPB’s drug test conducted in late April found that Gonzalez had taken stimulants clobenzorex, amphetamine and parahydroxyamfetamine, which are on the list of banned substances in Japanese baseball.
Gonzalez has a period until June 10 to make explanations to the NPB anti-doping special committee, but Kazuo Hasegawa, executive director of the baseball commissioner’s office, said, “We have received documents from Gonzalez, but there is no evidence to back up his claim.”
The 28-year-old Venezuelan has argued he has not intentionally taken any banned substances and claimed that the punishment is too harsh.
While Yomiuri has submitted to the anti-doping committee a letter from Gonzalez and a drug he has used regularly to treat rheumatism, which NPB already knew was not a banned substance. The club has voiced its readiness to release him shortly.
According to NPB, there was a positive case among the samples collected after tests were conducted following an April 30 game between Yomiuri and the Hiroshima Carp at Tokyo Dome. It turned out on May 20 that the sample which proved positive was Gonzalez’s.
NPB held a hearing with Gonzalez on Saturday, in which he claimed he did not take any of such substances, any tablets or any other things suspected to contain banned substances.
NPB decided to suspend him for one year, effective Monday, at an anti-doping special committee held earlier in the day.
Gonzalez is the second player to receive a suspension for doping after NPB began full-fledged drug tests last year.
Last August, Softbank right-hander Rick Guttormson was suspended for 20 days for the use of finasteride, which was contained in the hair-growing agent he had been taking for about two years.
Gonzalez, a former Colorado Rockies player who joined Yomiuri in 2007, hit .307 with two homers and 17 RBIs in 32 games this season before being removed from the top-team roster on Friday.