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NL NOTES

Piedra Suspended for Steroid Violation

Tuesday, April 12, 2005; Page D09

Rockies OF Jorge Piedra was suspended 10 days yesterday for violating baseball's new policy on performance-enhancing drugs, becoming the second player to be publicly identified under the tougher rules.

The suspension began with the Rockies' game at Arizona last night, the commissioner's office said.

Piedra was recalled from Class AAA Colorado Springs on Wednesday and sent back down the next day.

"It's unfortunate," said Commissioner Bud Selig, who was in Boston for the Red Sox-Yankees game. "I'm afraid this probably won't be the last one."

Tampa Bay OF Alex Sanchez was suspended for 10 days last Monday. He said he tested positive from a supplement he bought over the counter before Jan. 15, when it was made a controlled substance.

Selig wouldn't say whether he believed Sanchez. "I want to be kind," Selig said. "He did not fight his suspension, and I'll rest my case on that."

Under the new policy that took effect last month, steroids and other performance-enhancing 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.

"As an organization we have, and will continue to support Major League Baseball and its drug testing policies," Rockies President Keli McGregor said in a statement.

• CUBS:Mark Prior will make his first start of the season today against San Diego.

Prior was on the disabled list with elbow inflammation and made one minor league rehab start in Albuquerque with Class AAA Iowa on April 7. He struggled, giving up seven runs in six innings, including six in the first. He threw 30 pitches off the mound Sunday, but the Cubs wanted to see how his elbow felt yesterday before making any decisions.

"I feel good and ready to go," Prior said. "I expect to give us a chance to win the ballgame."

Manager Dusty Baker will keep Prior on a pitch count.

"My endurance feels good," Prior said. "I felt good throwing the other night. Obviously when you step in the ballgame, the intensity's a littler greater. I feel strong, my arm feels good." . . .

Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra was hitless in 11 at-bats before singling in the sixth.

PADRES: Shortstop Khalil Greene made his third error of the season in the fourth inning against the Cubs.

-- From News Services


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