Betancourt, on the disabled list with a shoulder injury,
disputes the claim and said he will ask the players' association to
file a grievance to clear his name.
"I am very angry and disappointed with Major League Baseball's
decision to suspend me," Betancourt said in a statement. "I am
very sorry if this has caused any embarrassment and I apologize to
my family, the Cleveland Indians organization, my teammates and all
"I look forward to resolving this matter and returning to the
Indians as soon as possible."
Betancourt is the sixth player suspended under Major League
Baseball's policy, which began in March. There have been 77 players
suspended under the minor league program.
The right-hander will serve the suspension while on the disabled
list, and it will cost him $18,503 of his $338,600 salary.
"The Cleveland Indians strongly support Major League Baseball's
testing program for performance-enhancing drugs," Indians general
manager Mark Shapiro said Friday before the Indians played the
Yankees in New York. "In addition to this support, we continue to
implement an aggressive educational program at the major- and minor-league levels.
"We want our players to be aware of the short and long-term
dangers of these substances. Until Rafael decides how he will
address this finding, we will have no further comment on his
Betancourt went on the disabled list Sunday, a move retroactive
to June 30. He has been a key cog in the Indians' bullpen, going
2-2 with a 2.21 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings.
Former Tampa Bay outfielder Alex Sanchez, Colorado outfielder Jorge
Piedra, Texas pitcher Agustin Montero, Seattle outfielder Jamal
Strong and Minnesota reliever Juan Rincon also were suspended.
Montero and Rincon asked the union to file grievances, but
decisions have not yet been made by arbitrator Shyam Das.
Under pressure from politicians, baseball commissioner Bud Selig
asked players in April to agree to a 50-game suspension for
first-time steroid offenders, a 100-game penalty for second
offenders and a lifetime ban for a third violation. Discussions
between the union and management are ongoing.