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Braves' Cruz busted

The Gwinnett Braves have lost another pitcher, but this time not because of a call-up or trade.

Right-handed reliever Rafael Cruz, who joined the G-Braves late last month from Class AA Mississippi, drew a 50-game suspension Tuesday for violating minor league baseball's drug program.

Major League Baseball announced that Cruz, 32, tested positive for metabolites of stanzolol, a performance-enhancing substance.

G-Braves outfielder Jordan Schafer, currently on the disabled list with a wrist injury, served a 50-game suspension early last season while playing for Mississippi. His ban was for human growth hormone.

Cruz, 32, pitched a scoreless eighth inning Monday night in Indianapolis as the G-Braves edged the Indians 3-2. Rain postponed Tuesday night's scheduled second game of the series.

The native of the Domincan Republic had pitched eight times for Gwinnett and hadn't allowed an earned run in 82/3 innings while going 1-1 with two holds. He had allowed one unearned run, given up six hits, walked two and struck out five.

Cruz, signed to a minor league deal by Atlanta in January, made 22 appearances at Mississippi before moving up to Gwinnett and was second in the Southern League at the time of his departure with 12 saves. He had a 0-2 record and a 4.76 ERA.

Atlanta signed Cruz after seeing him in the Dominican Winter League. A former catcher in the Texas organization, he was released last summer by the Chunichi Dragons in the Japanese Central League.

Gwinnett and Indianapolis will play a doubleheader today beginning at noon at Victory Field and conclude the series Thursday night. The G-Braves (35-30) then will play a four-game series at Louisville before returning home.

Former major league left-hander John Halama, who was scheduled to start Tuesday night, will now make his G-Braves debut in today's doubleheader. Halama, 37, was signed on Sunday out of the independent Atlantic League, where he was 8-1 with a 2.05 ERA for Southern Maryland.

Tony Armas will start the other game for the G-Braves. Indianapolis' scheduled starters are Virgil Vasquez and Eric Hacker. Both are seven-inning games.

The doubleheader will be broadcast on 1240-AM rather than 550-AM. All remaining weekday afternoon games will be carried on 1240-AM, it was announced Tuesday.