MINNEAPOLIS — The Angel organization got its first dose of baseball's stiffer drug penalties Tuesday when Karl Gelinas, a pitcher at Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, was suspended 50 games without pay for a first-time steroid offense.
Gelinas, a 22-year-old right-hander who was 0-2 with a 7.59 earned-run average in two starts, tested positive for Stanozolol, a powerful anabolic steroid that is not available in dietary supplements.
It is the same substance former Baltimore first baseman Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for last season and sprinter Ben Johnson tested positive for in 1988, when he was stripped of his Olympic 100-meter gold medal.
The penalty for an initial positive test this year was increased from 15 games to 50 for players with minor league contracts; the penalty for a second positive test rose from 30 games to 100.
"It's big, but that's the purpose of it," Manager Mike Scioscia said of the penalty. "Everyone knows the ground rules. Our guys have been schooled. It's unfortunate."
Of the five Angel minor leaguers who were hit with first-time, 15-game drug suspensions last season, three -- William Collazo, Francisco Cordova and Alexander Francisco -- were released. The other two, Ryan Leahy (now at Class-A Cedar Rapids) and Baltazar Lopez (Rancho Cucamonga), remained in the organization.
Will Gelinas' suspension affect how the organization perceives him?
"We're a performance-based business, and any guy who's trying to make his way to the major league has to perform well in the minor leagues," General Manager Bill Stoneman said.
"A 50-game suspension is certainly not helpful to his minor league performance."
Stoneman said Gelinas, a native of Canada who was a 47th-round pick in 2003, would be sent to the Angels' extended spring-training facility in Arizona to remain in shape during his suspension.
"The proof is going to be how he plays when he gets back," Scioscia said. "Without enhancement, we'll be able to better evaluate his ability. He obviously made a mistake."
Juan Rivera, who tweaked the left side of his rib cage and was scratched from Monday's game in Baltimore, felt better Tuesday but did not take batting practice or play in Tuesday night's game. Scioscia said Rivera will go through a normal pregame routine tonight, after which his availability will be assessed. ... Tim Salmon, who sat out Monday's game because of a minor right groin injury, took batting practice Tuesday and will be available as a pinch-hitter for the series with Minnesota. With three games on artificial turf, Scioscia started Garret Anderson at designated hitter Tuesday night. He'll probably start Vladimir Guerrero at DH tonight and Anderson there again Thursday.
The Anaheim City Council must decide by June 6 whether to appeal the Orange County Superior Court decision that the Angels' name change did not violate their stadium lease.
The official notice of the jury verdict was recorded April 7, starting the 60-day window for the city to file an appeal. The Angels have not filed a request for the court to order reimbursement of an estimated $7 million in attorneys' fees.
The city has spent $3.6 million on its lawyers, and city officials estimate an appeal would cost another $200,000.
Charter Communications, which serves about 350,000 cable households, mainly in the Inland Empire, the San Gabriel Valley and Long Beach, will not black out any more FSN West telecasts of Angel games, as it did Monday.
The Angels' 4-2 loss at Baltimore was the first of 10 FSN West Angel telecasts that Charter initially chose not to carry because of what was viewed as an excessive surcharge. But an agreement was reached Tuesday with FSN West in time for Charter to televise the opener of the Angels' three-game series at Minnesota.
\o7Times staff writers Bill Shaikin and Larry Stewart contributed to this report.