Major League Baseball has announced that Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz will be suspended the first 25 games of the 2013 season for using banned amphetamines, specially Adderall. Players must be caught using the banned substance twice before being levied with a suspension.
Ruiz, a free agent after the 2013 season, is coming off of a career year in which he hit .325/.394/.540 with 16 home runs and 68 RBI. His average, slugging percentage, home run and RBI totals were all career highs. Also career highs in 2012 were Ruiz's BABIP (.339) and HR/FB rate (15.1 percent), which shot up drastically from 4.4 percent in 2011 with a previous career high of 8.1 percent (minimum of 300 at-bats). Were amphetamines the leading cause for these sharp statistical increases at age 33? It's impossible to say for sure, but one has to speculate — especially for a catcher, whose position creates the most wear and tear out of any other everyday position — that they did indeed play a role.
Amphetamines are nothing new to sports and especially baseball. For years it was common for amphetamines — known as "Greenies" — to be available right in the dugout. However, Major League Baseball banned the substance starting in 2006.