Gonzalez fails drug test in Japan, banned a year

TOKYO: Former major leaguer Luis Gonzalez was suspended for one year by Japanese baseball for failing a drug test.

Gonzalez, an infielder with the Yomiuri Giants who once played with the Colorado Rockies, tested positive for amphetamines. Amphetamines are banned by Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball.

"This is a big setback," Japanese baseball commissioner Yasuchika Negoro said Monday. "What we need to do is to handle the matter properly in order to prevent something like this happening again."

Gonzalez is the second player in Japanese baseball history to be suspended for failing a drug test. Pitcher Rick Guttormson of the Softbank Hawks was suspended for 20 days in 2007 for testing positive for a hair-growing substance.

Gonzalez was tested April 30 and denied use of any illegal drugs when he was interviewed by a club representative May 19. Yomiuri plans to release the 28-year-old player shortly.

Gonzalez played for the Rockies from 2004-06. He played in 32 games for the Giants this season and with two homers and 17 RBIs.

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