It seems that steroids have now become a problem for Japan as well as the United States in the sports world. A California native playing baseball in Japan has been suspended and fined after failing a drug test to check for steroid use. The substance that showed up in the test turned out to be a hair-growing agent that the player had been taking for two years. While the agent itself is not performance enhancing, it can be used as a masking agent to hide the consumption of other steroids, such as Nandrolone. Because of this, he has become the first player in Japanese baseball history to fail a drug test.

The player has been identified as Rick Guttormson. Guttormson is a pitcher from Torrance, California. He played in the San Diego and Seattle minor league systems. He has no major league experience and is in his third season playing in Japan. The 30-year-old right-handed pitcher had made it to Triple-A in 2004 and had 25 saves for Seattle’s San Antonio team in Double-A. This year he is 5-6 with a 3.37 ERA for the Hawks and won his most recent game on Thursday night in a 5-1 win over the Seibu Lions. In 2006, he pitched a no-hitter for the Yakult Swallows.

It was a post-game drug test administered July 13 that detected Finasteride, the hair-growing agent in his system. He has been suspended for 20 days effective Friday, and his team was fined $63,000. Hair-growth tonic has also been responsible for NHL goalie Jose Theodore getting into trouble. In 2006, he failed a drug test prior to competing in the Olympic Games. The cause was later due to the hair-growth supplements that Theodore had been taking legally for eight years. He was not punished by the NHL because he had received approval to use the drug ahead of time though he was suspended from international play for two years.

For related articles visit

http://sports.yahoo.com/top/news?slug=ap-japan-steroids&prov=ap&type=lgns and http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/08/10/ap/sportsline/main3154533.shtml.

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