NEW YORK – Phillies reliever J.C. Romero and Yankees minor league pitcher Sergio Mitre were suspended for the first 50 games of next season after testing positive for a banned substance.
The suspensions were announced Tuesday by Major League Baseball.
Romero earned two wins in Philadelphia's World Series victory over Tampa Bay last season. He has called the penalty unfair, ESPN.com reported Monday night. He contends the supplement he took during the season was legal because he bought it over the counter at a nutrition store in the United States. An arbitrator decided against Romero in November.
Mitre is with the New York Yankees' Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Triple A team.
The arbitrator ruled Romero was guilty of negligence. The penalty will cost the left-hander $1.25 million in salary, ESPN.com said.
"I still cannot see where I did something wrong," Romero told the Web site. "There is nothing that should take away from the rings of my teammates. I didn't cheat. I tried to follow the rules."
The Philadelphia Inquirer also reported Romero's suspension on its Web site early Tuesday.
"If I'm guilty of something, you know what? I will face it. But I'm not guilty, and I'm not letting people that don't really know me judge me over something and accuse me of something that I didn't do," Romero told the newspaper.
"We strongly disagree with the commissioner's discipline and with the arbitrator's decision," MLB Players Association general counsel Michael Weiner said in a statement.
Romero was the winning pitcher in Game 3 of the World Series and the clinching Game 5 for the champion Phillies.
ESPN.com said the pitcher was tested Aug. 26 and Sept. 19, then informed by the players' union Sept. 23 of the result. Romero said he immediately stopped taking any supplements. He was tested again Oct. 1 and that test came back negative, according to ESPN.com.
Romero went 4-4 last season with a 2.75 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 59 innings. He appeared in 81 games and had one save.
Weiner said the union regards the decision as final but insists the players were treated unfairly.
"Their unknowing actions plainly are distinguishable from those of a person who intentionally used an illegal performance-enhancing substance," he said.