When it was announced that Cincinnati Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez had been suspended 50 games for failing a drug test it came as no surprise, but this did:
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez suspended 50 games - MLB News - FOX Sports on MSN
Former All-Star pitcher Edinson Volquez was suspended 50 games Tuesday following a positive test for a banned fertility substance, a punishment that will cost him money but won't hurt the Cincinnati Reds' rotation. The 26-year-old right-hander is recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery and isn't expected to rejoin the Reds until late July at the earliest. He can serve the suspension from Major League Baseball while continuing his rehabilitation at the team's spring training complex in Goodyear, Ariz. "That's the only good thing,'' Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo said. "I'm actually surprised they're letting him do that.''
Why does he get to complete his suspension while on the disabled list? How is this different than Cliff Lee's suspension earlier this season (and since dropped). When Lee was suspended for throwing at Chris Snyder during a spring training game, his suspension would have started once he was activated from the disabled list. In allowing Volquez to serve his suspension during a period of time he wouldn't have been playing anyway doesn't seem like much of a penalty. This could also open the door to abuse of the PED testing program. Here's an example:
Volquez goes on the disabled list and needs reconstructive elbow surgery, the Reds organization tells Volquez that if he takes a banned substance to help him heal/rehab and gets caught, they'll continue to pay his salary. If Volquez has no problem with the negative hit to his reputation, it's a win-win situation for the Reds and Volquez. He returns to the Red rotation 50% (or whatever) sooner, the Reds get Volquez back earlier and would have been paying him regardless of if he were on the disabled list or in the rotation.
If major league baseball is serious about PED testing and use, they'll rethink the suspension of Edinson Volquez.