The news coming out of the Cleveland Indians farm system has not always been good this winter. In early January, right-hander Duke Von Schamann was suspended for 50 games for his second violation of the MLB’s drug program. and recently, Justus Sheffield had a run-in with the law, but plead down and avoided breaking and entering charges.
Now comes the news that former Lincoln West star and current Tribe outfielder Brian Ruiz has tested positive for performance enhancing metabolites. It is his first offense, and the 80 game suspension without pay will start with the 2015 season. He was drafted in the 41st round by the Indians in 2011. He was born in the Dominican Republic, but currently lives with his family in Cleveland.
Ruiz, 22, spent 2012 in the Arizona Rookie League, and Class A Mahoning Valley in 2013. This year in his third season, he hit .260 with three home runs, 18 doubles and 28 RBIs in 52 games at Class A Lake County.
Being born in the Dominican Republic, Ruiz found whatever he could to play the game of baseball.
"“We didn’t have a ball or bat,” Ruiz said. “We used a sock, we used it with a rock inside. We just played the whole day. We would find something to play with.” h/t Zack Meisel, MLB.com"
At 13, his mother moved him to the United States, where several of her family were now residing. She chose Cleveland. For ruiz, it required leaving everything behind and starting over. Baseball was what helped the transition.
He was named Player of the Year in the Senate Athletic League in his final two years. In his senior season he hit .600 – with a wooden bat – and led the Wolverines to the District semifinals, the farthest a Cleveland public school had advanced in 24 years.
Hopefully this event will be a learning experience, and the last setback in his baseball career. Ruiz has potential, the Indians saw that when they drafted him.