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3 Minor Leaguers Suspended

By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 23, 2005; Page D10

TORONTO, April 22 -- Three Baltimore Orioles minor leaguers were suspended 15 games each for violating minor league baseball's policy against steroids. None of the three, who are all 23 years old, is considered a top prospect.

Gary Cates Jr., a second baseman with Class AA Bowie, Rafael Diaz, a third baseman with Class A Delmarva, and Richard Salazar, a pitcher for Delmarva, will be allowed to dress and practice with their teams during the suspensions.

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"Players are very well educated on the policy," said Mike Flanagan, vice president of baseball operations. "It's unfortunate that through all that education we still have this. They have to pay the consequences. I don't feel any embarrassment at all. I think the responsibility from our part is to get the word out and the news out on this, the downside to doing these things. And unfortunately some still choose to do it. It's going to continue."

Minor leaguers are subject to different suspensions because of steroid use. Major leaguers are suspended 10 games for their first violation.

Ponson's Permit

Pitcher Sidney Ponson received a three-day permit to enter Canada and will make his start on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays. Ponson had problems getting permission to enter the country because of his pending DUI case in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and because of the yet-to-be finalized settlement of his court case in Aruba.

In order to get Ponson into Canada, Tripp Norton, Baltimore's assistant minor league director, had to fly to Buffalo on Friday to pick up the pitcher's paperwork.

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