MLB suspends Gibbons for 15 days

MLB suspends Gibbons for 15 days

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Major League Baseball disciplined Jay Gibbons on Thursday, hitting the Baltimore outfielder with a 15-day suspension for violating the league's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

"We completely support the Commissioner's program and his decision with regard to Jay Gibbons' suspension," said Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail. "Jay has acknowledged his mistake, and we appreciate his willingness to accept the consequences."

Gibbons and Kansas City's Jose Guillen, who received the same punishment, are required to begin serving their suspensions at the start of the 2008 regular season. The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball also concluded its investigations of Scott Schoeneweis, Troy Glaus, Rick Ankiel and Gary Matthews Jr. -- none of whom were suspended.

According to a statement from MLB, it was "determined that, with respect to each player, there was insufficient evidence of a violation of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program in effect at the time of the conduct in question."

Two days after Glaus, Toronto's third baseman, and Ankiel, an outfielder for St. Louis, were implicated in different reports, SI.com reported on Sept. 7 that Gibbons received multiple shipments of banned substances. All three allegedly purchased performance-enhancing drugs through Signature Pharmacy, which is based in Orlando, Fla.

The online report alleged that Gibbons received "six separate shipments of Genotropin (a brand name for synthetic human growth hormone), two shipments of testosterone and two shipments of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone produced naturally during pregnancy, but taken by anabolic steroid users to stimulate the production of testosterone" from October 2003-July 2005.

As of now, there is no way for players to be caught using human growth hormone. The teams are only allowed to test urine samples from each player, and there is no reliable way to test urine for the hormone in question.

Drug Policy in Baseball

At the time of the report, SI.com reported that Gibbons did not return phone calls left on his cell phone and with the Orioles' media relations department. The report also claimed that Gibbons' name appeared on a Signature Pharmacy client list, which also included Glaus and Ankiel.

The Web site reported that the prescriptions were written in Gibbons' name and the drugs were delivered to an address in Gilbert, Ariz., that corresponds to the player. Gibbons, who underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in August, still has not commented publicly about the report.

MLB banned numerous anabolic steroids and testosterone in 2003, when drug testing began at the big league level on a survey basis only. HGH was later added to the banned list in '05, when the policy expanded, including penalties for testing positive for the first time.

Gibbons was also allegedly named in the Jason Grimsley affidavit. The outfielder and designated hitter is under contract for $5.7 million in 2008 and $6.2 million in '09 with the Orioles. Last season, Gibbons, 30, hit .230 with six homers and 28 RBIs in 85 games.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.