TOKYO -- Former major league pitcher Danny Rios was suspended for one year by Japanese baseball on Saturday after testing positive for a banned substance.
Rios, a 35-year-old right-handed pitcher with the Yakult Swallows, was tested on May 21 and again on June 21 with both tests showing traces of the banned substance hydroxystanozorol, Nippon Professional Baseball announced on its official Web site.
The Swallows later announced Rios was released on Saturday.
"It's appropriate to impose a one-year suspension," said Kazuo Hasegawa, secretary general at the commissioner's office. "The substance detected this time carries heavy weight in our anti-doping policy and is one of the substances that must be strictly prohibited."
Rios, a native of Spain, played briefly with the New York Yankees in 1997 and the Kansas City Royals in 1998.
Rios becomes the third player in Japan professional baseball to be suspended for testing positive for a banned substance. Former major leaguer Luis Gonzalez was suspended for one year in May for failing a drug test, and was later released by the Yomiuri Giants.
Gonzalez tested positive for amphetamines, which are banned by Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball.
Pitcher Rick Guttormson of the Softbank Hawks was suspended for 20 days in 2007 for testing positive for a hair-growing medication which can also be used as a masking agent for performance enhancing substances.
Rios joined Yakult after playing the past six seasons in South Korea. He had a record of 2-7 with a 5.46 ERA before being removed from Yakult's roster on June 2.