- Scott Powers, Reporter
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Chicago White Sox minor league pitching prospect Andre Rienzo was suspended 50 games for testing positive for metabolites of Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing drug, by the commissioner's office on Thursday.
Cleveland Indians minor leaguer Harold Guerrero, from the Dominican Republic,
also tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol. He is on
Mahoning Valley's roster in the Class A New York-Penn League.
The 24-year-old Rienzo was 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA, seven walks and 31 strikeouts in 25 innings for the Winston-Salem Dash, the White Sox's high Class A affiliate, this season. He was signed by the White Sox as a free agent on Nov. 17, 2006. He is originally from Brazil.
"We found out a couple of weeks ago," White Sox vice president of player development and special assignment Buddy Bell told the team's pool reporter on Thursday. "We talked to Andre about it right away. He was devastated at the positive. He denies any wrongdoing or anything like that. We went through the proper channels and Andre wanted to appeal. After about 10 days or so, they decided to get this thing behind him.
"He's a great kid. You feel awful for this kid. They just have to pay attention. He just made a mistake, and we'll move forward. And we'll support him in whatever he needs at this particular time."
"I want to make it clear to Major League Baseball and the Chicago White Sox that I have never intentionally taken a prohibited substance," Rienzo said in a statement. "Unfortunately, during the off-season, I used a dietary supplement that I purchased at a health food store in my home country of Brazil, believing it to be legitimate. It is now apparent that the supplement was tainted. I understand that I am responsible for what I put in my body, and therefore, have accepted the 50 game suspension."
Bell said the White Sox do try to inform their players of what can't put into their bodies.
"We try to educate kids on these things," Bell said. "I don't know what's in GNC. I don't know what's available and what's not. I know what's prohibited and kids have to pay more attention. Not sure if that's different in the foreign countries. I don't know. But they do have the information.
"Unfortunately these kids learn in different ways. Knowing Andre the way I do, he will learn from this and will be a better person for it. He's a great kid anyway. Things like this have a way of helping you grow up."
Bell also felt there was a chance for further education.
"In terms of him professionally, we'll put someone else in his place and try to keep him as physically fit as we possibly can. When June 13 or June 14 comes around, he'll be ready to go.
"And we will continue to talk to him about what has happened. We are not going to brush it under the rug like it never happened."