Volquez's suspension will go into effect Wednesday even though the pitcher is currently on the disabled list after undergoing Tommy John surgery last August to repair a torn elbow ligament.
He should be eligible for reinstatement on June 15, barring any Reds rainouts in the interim, but Volquez wasn't expected to be back in the majors until sometime in July at last report. Though Volquez probably won't miss any games because of the positive test, it will cost him 50 games' worth of pay -- about $133,000.
Volquez released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying the positive result stemmed from his use of a medication prescribed in the Dominican Republic and he was "not trying in any way" to gain an advantage on the field.
His full statement:
"Prior to the conclusion of last season, my wife and I sought medical advice in Cincinnati with the hope of starting a family. As part of my consultation with the physician, I received certain prescribed medications to treat my condition. As a follow up to our original consultation, my wife and I visited another physician in our home city in the Dominican Republic this past off-season. This physician also gave me certain prescribed medications as part of my treatment. Unfortunately, I now know that the medication the physician in the Dominican gave me is one that is often used to treat my condition, but is also a banned substance under Major League Baseball's drug policy. As a result, I tested positive when I reported to spring training.
"Although I understand that I must accept responsibility for this mistake and have chosen not to challenge my suspension, I want to assure everyone that this was an isolated incident involving my genuine effort to treat a common medical issue and start a family. I was not trying in any way to gain an advantage in my baseball career. I am embarrassed by this whole situation and apologize to my family, friends, fans, teammates, and the entire Reds organization for being a distraction and for causing them any difficulty. I simply want to accept the consequences, learn from the mistake, and continue to strive to be the best person and baseball player I can be."
Volquez went 4-2 with a 4.35 ERA in nine starts for the Reds last season, the last of them a June 1 outing at St. Louis that saw Volquez depart after the first inning. The 26-year-old was a National League All-Star in 2008, going 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA after joining the Reds from Texas in an offseason trade that sent Josh Hamilton to the Rangers.
The Reds released the following statement after the suspension was announced:
"The Reds fully support Major League Baseball's drug policy and its penalties. The organization does not condone in any way the use of drugs not sanctioned by MLB's medical staff."
Volquez becomes the first major league player suspended under the terms of the Drug Prevention and Treatment Program since Manny Ramirez drew a 50-game ban last year after testing positive for a female fertility drug. Ramirez was the only big league player suspended for PEDs last year, though a total of 100 minor league players have been suspended since January 2009.
Prior to Ramirez, the highest-profile player to be suspended was Phillies pitcher J.C. Romero, who tested positive in 2008 but didn't serve his 50-game suspension until the start of the 2009 season.