Strong suspended for performance-enhancing drugs

NEW YORK -- Seattle Mariners minor-league outfielder Jamal Strong was suspended for 10 days Tuesday, making him the fourth player to test positive under major-league baseball's new policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Strong, who played 12 games for Seattle in 2003, was with Triple-A Tacoma this season. The speedy leadoff man hit .235 with three RBI through 12 games.

Strong, 26, was sent down to the minors in late March. He hit .324 with three homers, 24 RBI and 19 stolen bases in 64 games for Tacoma last year.

In 2003, he went 0-for-2 in his time with Seattle. He missed half of that season after dislocating his left shoulder on a headfirst slide.

"The Mariners organization is extremely disappointed," the team said in a statement. "This result is very upsetting."

Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said that players should be well aware of baseball's steroid policy by now.

"All they need to do is turn on the TV and listen," Hargrove said.

Strong's contract calls for him to be paid at an annual rate of $57,600 while in the minors and the minimum $316,000 while in the majors. Because he was on option to the minors at the time of the suspension, Strong will lose $3,148 in pay.

Texas minor-league pitcher Agustin Montero was suspended for 10 days last week under the new policy and had the Major League Baseball Players Association file a grievance. Gene Orza, the union's chief operating officer, said a decision on whether to file a grievance on behalf of Strong wouldn't be made before Friday.

Tampa Bay outfielder Alex Sanchez was the first player suspended under the new major-league program, starting his 10-day ban on April 3. Colorado outfielder Jorge Piedra was suspended for 10 days starting April 11.