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LADELPHIA -- Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday that rookie second baseman Freddy Galvis, who has impressed both the organization and fans with his brilliant defense and on-field smarts, has been suspended 50 games for testing positive for a metabolite of Clostebol, a performance-enhancing substance, in violation of MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
The suspension began on Tuesday, even with Galvis on the disabled list with a fracture in his back that likely would have had him sidelined for the next 50 games anyway.
Galvis claimed innocence in a statement:
"A trace amount of a banned substance -- 80 parts in a trillion -- was detected in my urine sample," Galvis said. "I am extremely disappointed in what has transpired. I cannot understand how even this tiny particle of a banned substance got into my body. I have not and never would knowingly use anything illegal to enhance my performance. I have always tried to follow the team's strength and conditioning methods, listen to the trainers, work out hard and eat right. Unfortunately, the rules are the rules, and I will be suspended.
"I'd like to apologize to all my fans, especially here in Philadelphia and back home in Venezuela, to my teammates and to the Phillies organization. I am looking forward to putting this behind me, rehabilitating my back and returning to the Phillies as soon as possible to try to help them win another World Series."
He later said on Twitter: "Sometimes life isn't fair... But that's the way it is... You have to keep moving forward and turn the page."
The Phillies released a statement of their own.
"The Phillies continue to believe in and endorse Major League Baseball's drug policy. We also support Freddy Galvis in his determination to put this matter behind him and we look forward to his return as a productive member of the Phillies as soon as possible."
Galvis was hitting only .226 with 15 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 24 RBIs and a .617 on-base plus slugging percentage in 58 games before he went on the DL on June 6. He doesn't fit the mold of the typical bulked-up power hitter, but he credited increased strength over the past year or so for his improved performance at the plate.
Galvis never hit higher than .240 with a .588 OPS in the Minor Leagues before he hit a combined .278 with a .716 OPS with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley last season.
"It's disappointing," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said before Tuesday's series opener against the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park. "We fully support the program and the decision. At the same time, we support the player. We just want him to get healthy and get back onto the field for us. ... We believe in the kid. I believe in him. I think he's still got a great future for us moving forward."
Asked if he believes Galvis' claim of innocence in mentioning the 80 parts in a trillion found in his system, Amaro said, "I don't know anything about those numbers. It's kind of foreign to me. As I said, I support the player. I can't really comment on it, because I don't know much about it."