Randy Ruiz: "I didn't take anything"

Reading Phillies slugger Randy Ruiz once again finds himself at the center of a controversy involving Major League Baseball's banned substances list. Ruiz served a fifteen game suspension at the beginning of this season and is facing a 30 game suspension for a second failed drug test. The R-Phils first baseman, who leads the Eastern League in batting average and is second in homeruns, is spending his first season above the Single-A level.

Randy Ruiz is appealing his latest positive test result, as the infraction comes with a 30-game suspension for a second offense. He took another test before the middle game of this weekend's series in Trenton against the Yankees Double-A team and denies all wrongdoing.

"I didn't take anything. I only tried Viagra once, just to try it." said the 27-year old Ruiz.

The slugger learned of the test during his team's four game sweep of the Akron Aeros in Akron, and decided to appeal after consulting with his agent. Ruiz claims simple ignorance when asked why he didn't appeal the test last year.

"I didn't know what the rules were and on a failed drug test, you only have forty-eight hours to appeal so by the time I knew what was going on, it was too late. My agent knows what's he doing and he will take care of me." said Ruiz.

Adding to Ruiz's problems are a past that leads into the days when drug testing results weren't released publicly. Ruiz was released twice by other organizations after successful minor league seasons and there is speculation that those releases were related to possible drug test results.

Ruiz is not the only Phillies farm hand dogged by substance abuse allegations.

Josh Carter, an outfielder for the Single-A Clearwater Threshers, has been suspended for 15 games for a positive drug test he took. Carter will miss most of this season with a knee injury but will have to serve the suspension when he returns to playing.

Kyle Allen, a pitcher at Class-A Lakewood, has also allegedly tested positive for banned substances, according to a report in the Bucks County Courier Times. Allen has appealed his suspension, but has not made any public statements about the alleged test or his appeal. A spokesman for the BlueClaws said they were unaware of any failed drug tests by their players and that the Phillies hadn't made them aware of any violations relating to the Major League Baseball substance abuse policy.

The Phillies aren't the only organization taking the latest round of positive tests on the chin.

The Yankees, who had run a clean organization to this point in the testing program, had their first minor leaguer suspended under the substance abuse policy. Jeff Kennard was pitching for the Single-A Tampa Yankees at the time his positive test became the first for his organization. Kennard pitched for Double-A Trenton in 2003 and 2004 before being demoted to Tampa early last season and has been there ever since.

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