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Saturday, May 1, 2010
Dodgers' Lambo suspended 50 games

By Tony Jackson
ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Andrew Lambo, the Dodgers' fourth-round selection in the 2007 amateur draft and one of the organization's top outfield prospects, was suspended for 50 games on Saturday because of a second positive test for a banned drug under baseball's Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The news release from Major League Baseball announcing the suspension didn't specify what the drug was, but there were strong indications it was marijuana, a drug that has caused Lambo troubles in the past.

The release did specify Lambo tested positive for a "drug of abuse" as opposed to a performance-enhancing substance. Marijuana is one of several drugs of abuse -- the list also includes cocaine, LSD and heroin -- on baseball's banned substance list.

De Jon Watson, the Dodgers' assistant general manager for player development, declined to comment and referred all media inquiries to general manager Ned Colletti.

"Obviously we're disappointed to learn of the test results and we hope he will use this time to evaluate the decisions he has made and learn from this experience," Colletti said in a text message. "And we will certainly use this time to help him work out his challenges."

Said Dodgers manager Joe Torre: "He had a little ways to go, but this certainly is going to take a pretty good bite out of the development stage of his career."

Though Lambo has never been to major league spring training, he has played in a handful of major league spring training games the past couple of years, which is Torre's only real exposure to him.

The Dodgers' public relations department also issued a written statement, which was not attributed to any individual:

"The Dodgers are disappointed to learn of this news, and we fully support Major League Baseball's drug policy and its penalties. The organization does not condone the use of any substance not sanctioned by MLB's medical staff."

Lambo, 21, was off to an outstanding start in his second season with the Dodgers' Double-A Chattanooga affiliate, hitting .342 with seven doubles, two triples, two home runs, 13 RBIs and a .390 on-base percentage. But there was a marijuana-related incident during his time at Cleveland High School in Reseda when, according to Baseball America, he was caught smoking marijuana on school grounds. Lambo subsequently transferred to Newbury Park High School, which is where he was playing when the Dodgers drafted him as a senior, and it isn't entirely clear whether the incident was the reason he wasn't taken until the fourth round.

During his four years in the Dodgers' minor league system, Lambo has been open with the media about the fact he has skeletons in his past, but in doing so, he also has talked about how much he has matured since then and put his past issues behind him.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.