Whiteside suspended for policy violation

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Charleston graduate is out for 15 days.

Charleston native Matt Whiteside, the top relief pitcher for the Class AAA Syracuse SkyChiefs, was recently suspended for 15 days for violating Major League Baseball's Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Whiteside and Syracuse officials were notified of the suspension through a statement released by the Office of the Commissioner last Friday. The suspension ends July 30.

Whiteside, a 1986 graduate of Charleston High School, is in his 16th professional season, including parts of 11 seasons in the major leagues.

"Obviously I'm disappointed and frustrated. I really don't have much else to comment about it," Whiteside told the Syracuse Post-Standard.

The 37-year-old Whiteside told the newspaper he had no plans of appealing the suspension.

"There's not much gray area here," he said. "They're not very flexible. I don't think I have the luxury to spend my career waiting and then all of a sudden have to spend the last two weeks of August trying to pitch for a job next year or something. I'm just going to grin and bear it and try to help the team in August."

Whiteside is 0-3 with 18 saves and a 2.86 earned-run average as the SkyChiefs' closer. In 28 1/3 innings, he has allowed 25 hits, struck out 31 and walked four. At the time of the suspension, he was tied for first in the International League in saves, and he still ranks second.

Syracuse is the top minor league affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Whiteside has spent virtually all of this year with the SkyChiefs, but he did appear in two games with the Blue Jays early in the season, allowing eight runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Whiteside, a 25th-round pick of the Texas Rangers in 1990 out of Arkansas State, is the second Syracuse player to receive the 15-game suspension for violating the Minor League Drug policy. Infielder Julius Matos started the season suspended for 15 days.

Whiteside was one of three minor leaguers suspended last Friday, the others being Class A pitcher Carlos Bohorquez (Reds) and Class AA pitcher Alex Santos (Athletics).

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