Sunday, the Phillies welcomed back left-handed reliever Daniel Stumpf after serving an 80-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.   The positive test came during Spring Training for the drug commonly known as Turinabol, an oral steroid tied to performance.  Now that Stumpf has served his suspension and returned to the Phillies, he is claiming innocence.

Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer had reaction from Stumpf, which included a plea of innocence:

"I specifically told the union when I was going through this, I don't care if I have proof or not, I want to sit down in front of these people and I want them to tell me that I'm a liar, that I did this," Stumpf said. "I'm going to argue to you that I did not. And so they said that's not enough. That my word isn't good enough to them . . . .I told them if I didn't appeal I'm not admitting guiltiness. So yeah, I then sat down with the general manager, I sat down with the manager, and then I sat down in front of my teammates and I cried my eyes out telling them the issue that I was having to go through. I mean, I had nothing to hide. I still don't have anything to hide."

The 80-game suspension may have helped Stumpf's chances to remain in the Major Leagues.

Stumpf returns just in time for the All-Star break, and with the break it will take the Phillies to six weeks from September 1, when rosters expand.   Therefore Stumpf, who entered his suspension with a 40.50 earned run average, only really needs to last six weeks before rosters expand and it becomes much easier for him to stick with the Phillies.    Had Stumpf continued to pitch poorly, the Phillies may not have given him this much time to show he belongs on a Major League roster.

In Stumpf's absence, the Phillies saw poor pitching from other lefties Elvis Araujo and James Russell.  The other lefthanded pitcher in the bullpen, Brett Oberholtzer, is primarily used as a long man and does not really count as a left-handed pitcher in terms of bullpen usage.   Stumpf returns with all the opportunity in the world to retain a bullpen spot on the Phillies.

Blue Jays first baseman Chris Colabello also pleaded innocence to a positive test of the same drug.  Colabello was suspended shortly after Stumpf and should return to the Blue Jays right after the All-Star break.   Phillies prospect Alec Asher also tested positive for the drug, as did free agent catcher Cody Stanley.   Stanley is facing a lifetime ban for use of the drug and is fighting the suspension adamantly.   Stanley has turned over everything he puts in his body including his deodorant and is hoping to be cleared.

While others have blamed tainted kangaroo meat in the past for these suspensions, maybe there is something to these innocence pleas.

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