MLB slaps Grimsley with 50-game suspension

NEW YORK -- Embattled pitcher Jason Grimsley was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball on Monday, less than a week after federal agents raided his home during an investigation into performance-enhancing drugs.

Commissioner Bud Selig's office suspended Grimsley for violating baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, based on his statements to authorities regarding human growth hormone.

"I think he earned it," Arizona Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick said. "I think it sends a message and an appropriate message.

"He violated the agreement. Obviously MLB feels that he did. That's Bud's decision and I think it's the right decision and I applaud him for it," he said.

The Diamondbacks released the reliever last Wednesday -- they don't intend to pay him, either -- and his agent said he did not expect Grimsley to pitch again. If Grimsley returns, the penalty would take effect when he's placed on a 40-man roster.

"Nothing's changed," agent Joe Bick said Monday.

Last Tuesday, 13 agents searched Grimsley's Arizona home following his admission he had used HGH, steroids and amphetamines.

According to court documents, authorities tracked a package containing two "kits" of HGH -- about a season's worth -- that was delivered at Grimsley's house on April 19. He failed a baseball drug test in 2003, documents showed.

Acting on those documents, MLB suspended him for his alleged possession, admitted use and intended use of HGH. Baseball toughened its drug program and penalties this season, but there is no test for HGH.

"He's retired. It's a moot point," Detroit Tigers closer Todd Jones said. "He didn't test positive, but because he said he did, they're going to suspend him?

"It's kind of like giving a speeding ticket to a guy that got killed in a car wreck," he said.

The 38-year-old Grimsley was 1-2 with a 4.88 ERA in 19 games as a long reliever this season, his first with Arizona.

"The suspension will become effective only if Jason chooses to continue his playing career," said Michael Weiner, general counsel to the union. "The association will confer with Jason as to whether, under the circumstances, he wishes to grieve the suspension."

Grimsley and the Diamondbacks are currently in a dispute over payment of the remainder of his $825,000 salary.

Grimsley asked for his release last week and Arizona granted it. At the time, Bick said there had been no negotiation about money and added, "Released players get paid."

But the team later said it did not intend to pay him the rest and filed a notice of termination Monday.

"This guy did no less than steal from us," Kendrick said Saturday night.

Bick responded by saying Grimsley would contest the Diamondbacks' decision, and Weiner said the union would soon file a grievance.

"The Diamondbacks' release of Jason is a clear violation of the Basic Agreement," Weiner said.