USA Today and just about everyone else is reporting that Rafael Palmeiro has been suspended 10 days for violating Major League Baseball's steroid policy.
USA Today reported that Palmeiro immediately appealed the suspension. He is not in the lineup today against the Chicago White Sox, but that is likely because the team is facing left-hander Mark Buehrle, and Palmeiro does not hit lefties well.
Palmeiro is the highest-profile player to be caught in baseball's new testing program, and it will undoubtedly cast a black eye on the league, his 3,000th hit, his solid season and his 569 home runs.
There is no telling if this will hurt his Hall of Fame chances, but one can only assume that it will.
This is a great disappointment for Baltimore and all of baseball, because Palmeiro was seen as a player that probably had not used steroids because his sweet swing is how he hits home runs, not with pure strength like Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield or Barry Bonds.
Personally, I'm disgusted and disappointed. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone would blame the Orioles if they lose by about 10 runs today with this black cloud hanging over them (although that may have happened anyway).
Flat out, this sucks.
Palmeiro's suspension did start today. He had already gone through an appeals process and was told that the suspension would stand. He is the first positive-tested player under the new policy to actually have his case reach an arbitrator. In his statements, he said that the arbitrator found his defense to be "compelling" but that the rules were clear about testing positive.
The original headline for this post said that the suspension was 10 games. It is actually 10 days. This actually covers only nine games, because the O's have August 8th off. Apologies.