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SAN FRANCISCO -- Catcher Eliezer Alfonzo, playing for Triple-A Fresno in the Giants' Minor League system, has received a 50-game suspension from the Commissioner's Office for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Alfonzo's suspension will be effective Friday.
"I made a mistake and I want to apologize to my family, my teammates, the fans and the Giants organization," Alfonzo said in a statement. "I know what I did was wrong and I now will pay the penalty. As a father, I now have to look my children in the eye and explain to them that I have made a big mistake, one unfortunately that they are also going to have to deal with as well as me. This will not happen again. I will serve my penalty and look forward to getting back on the field."
Alfonzo, 29, broke into the Majors in June 2006 after Mike Matheny was sidelined with post-concussion syndrome. The right-handed batter had toiled for 10 seasons in the Minors before that. Alfonzo served as the Giants' primary catcher for the rest of the season, batting .266 with 12 home runs and 39 RBIs in 87 games. Last June 8, Alfonzo injured his left knee in a home-plate collision, requiring arthroscopic surgery. He rejoined the Giants in September and finished with a .250 average, one homer and six RBIs in 26 games.
Bent on re-establishing himself, Alfonzo played for Caribes in the Venezuelan Winter League and won Most Valuable Player honors, amassing 15 homers and 47 RBIs in 53 regular-season games and seven homers and 16 RBI in 14 playoff games.
But Alfonzo hit just .091 (4-for-44) in Spring Training and lost the backup catching job to Steve Holm. He was batting .306 with three homers and 14 RBIs in 16 games for Fresno.
The Giants issued the following statement after Alfonzo was suspended:
"The Giants were disappointed to learn that one of our players, Eliezer Alfonzo, has failed a test for a performance enhancing drug. Our organization fully supports Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. As an organization, we will continue to work with our players, Major League Baseball and the Players Association to do what we can do to eliminate these performance enhancing substances from our game. We will continue to support and counsel Eliezer during his suspension."