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06/16/09 7:34 PM ET

Minor Leaguer Cruz suspended for 50

Reliever tests positive for performance-enhancing drugs

CINCINNATI -- When the Braves signed Rafael Cruz to a Minor League contract this past offseason, they had trouble gathering information about his recent playing history.

But while throwing a fastball in the upper 90s in the Dominican Winter League, he'd at least given them reason to take a chance on his powerful arm.

Drug Policy in Baseball

Cruz's arm will now gain a long rest while he serves a 50-game suspension that Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday.

According to the release, the 32-year-old right-hander tested positive for the use of Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance that is in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

While beginning this season as Double-A Mississippi's closer, Cruz made 30 appearances, posted a 4.76 ERA and allowed opponents a .290 batting average.

In the eight appearances he'd made for Gwinnett, he's worked 8 2/3 scoreless innings and surrendered six hits.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.