Cardinals catcher Stanley suspended for PED violation

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

CINCINNATI The reason for catcher Ed Easley's sudden call-up to become the Cardinals' fourth catcher became apparent Saturday morning.

Catcher Cody Stanley, who had been 4-for-7 as a pinch-hitter and 4-for-10 overall for the Cardinals after spending most of the season at Class AAA Memphis, was suspended without pay for 80 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of Major League Baseball's joint drug prevention and treatment program.

Stanley's suspension is effective immediately. As a Cardinals minor leaguer, Stanley had missed the first 50 games of the 2012 season after he tested positive for a banned substance. This suspension would carry over to next season.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who has known Stanley since he met him in Johnson City in 2010 when Matheny was a roving instructor, said, "It's sad. It's disappointing."

But Matheny, citing the previous suspension which was for a supplement, said he had some empathy for Stanley. "He even checked out the ingredients," Matheny said, "When they found out, he gave them the stuff. And it didn't have any of the ingredients that were on the banned list."

"But a couple of them put together, after he was suspended, they did put on the banned list. Nonetheless, he served his time on that one.

"Now, this is a whole different animal and he's trying to figure out exactly what happened. I would just want to put myself in the position of 'what if?'

"What if you hadn't done anything and something came up. And there's nothing you can do."

Matheny said, historically, when a player is suspended, "we've heard some very convincing stories from people and most of them haven't been true. So you're not going to have any sympathy from anybody.

"It's embarrassing that our organization has to have this conversation but I can't help to think about the (26-year-old) kid and just 'what if?'

"They've already tried to bring in some chemists and take some of the anti-inflammatories he was doing when he was on the (disabled list) and mix that with the stuff that was certified, to see if there was some way a compound came up because the stuff they found seemed to be pretty rare.

"With that being said, it's never a positive for us. But I can't get past hurting for the kid. This stuff is not good."

Matheny said that the recall of Easley was, in part, because of the impending suspension.

Whether or not Stanley remains in the organization remains to be seen.

"We have a high level of expectation," said Matheny. "With that previous experience, this is hard to let completely go."

But, Matheny added, "There's also a human side to it."

Stanley's positive test came as a minor leaguer but the 80-game suspension is a big league suspension because he was on the 40-man roster.

Reliever Matt Belisle, who had been on the 60-day disabled list with elbow problems, was activated in time for the resumption of Friday's suspended game which was halted in the eighth inning by rain. Stanley's suspension created a spot for Belisle on the 40-man roster.

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