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MLB Suspends J.C. Romero for 50 games

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This is gonna get messy

While Major League Baseball never said J.C. Romero tried to cheat, the 33-year-old reliever who won the third and clinching games of the 2008 World Series has been ruled guilty of "negligence" and will be suspended for the first 50 games of the 2009 season.

Romero said on Monday that he bought a supplement from a GNC store in Cherry Hill, N.J., last July. The Players Association had told players the supplement was acceptable, but now the Philadelphia Phillies left-hander will receive a suspension and lose $1.25 million.

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On July 22, Romero bought a supplement at the GNC store in Cherry Hill. He had it checked by his personal nutritionist, who said there was nothing in the supplement that was illegal. There was no warning on the label. Romero mentioned it to Phillies strength and conditioning coach Dong Lien.

There seems to be some confusion in testimony during the October arbitration hearing. According to Romero, Lien told him to get a second opinion; Romero took the supplement to a second nutritionist, who cleared it. In the hearing, Lien testified to that fact, but at another time he said he suggested Romero not take it. Romero in no way blames Lien.

"What they now say I should have done was call the drug hotline," Romero said. "But I had it checked out by nutritionists, and I was following the guidelines laid down by the Players Association in spring training."

Romero has become a fan favorite for his terrific performance and emotive mound demeanor. I don't see him taking this lying down by any stretch of the imagination, particularly as it sounds like there were multiple failures of communication between the MLBPA and the Office of the Commissioner.