- The big story was the 50 game suspension for RHP Andre Rienzo following his positive drug test for the steroid stanozolol. In what I'm sure is just an amazing coincidence, Rienzo dropped his appeal and began serving the suspension in time for the suspension to end at exactly the same time extended spring training ends. The 23 year old Brazilian thus will be back with the Dash in mid-June after his vacation in Arizona. In a not unusual explanation, Rienzo blamed the positive test on a tainted supplement he purchased in Brazil during the offseason. As discussed last week, Rienzo was pitching well for Winston-Salem: 4 GS, 25 IP, 17 H, 7 BB and a Carolina League-leading 31 strikeouts.
- As far as I know, this is the first suspension of a White Sox minor leaguer for the use of a banned performance-enhancing substance. Part of the reason for this is that the White Sox have fewer foreign players than most organizations. While I won't opine on the intent of Rienzo's ingestion of this PED, tainted substances are a real problem overseas in countries which do not have the equivalent of the U.S. FDA. Players are routinely and repeatedly warned about the risk associated with ingesting supplements that are not certified by NSF International. If a positive test is somehow caused by one of the certified supplements, if substantiated, it is considered a legitimate defense and an exception to the strict liability standard.