If year one of baseball's performance-enhancing-drugs policy taught us anything, it's that those drugs aren't just for sluggers, after all. With the exception of Rafael Palmeiro (top)--whose positive test was announced in August, less than five months after he and his index finger vowed to Congress that they were clean--nary a home run hitter got busted.
A hint of what to expect came in April, with the announcement of the first player to receive a 10-game suspension under the new plan: Alex Sanchez of the Devil Rays, a 180-pound outfielder who came into the season with four career homers in 365 games. Five of the other 10 offenders--including Felix Heredia of the Mets, who last week became the most recent player to be suspended--were relief pitchers.
So what gives? Well, just like at your service station, there's a big premium on gas in the majors. Teams value setup men who can throw hard. And a reliever's arm needs to withstand the strain of warming up, if not pitching, three or four nights a week. "To the people in baseball it's no surprise," one AL general manager says of the trend of relievers getting nabbed. "In recent years the numbers have been unbelievable when it comes to velocity from guys coming out of the bullpen. You saw this year a noticeable drop in velocity. All those 97, 98, 99s became 91, 92, 93s. And guys probably weren't able to recover as quickly [from frequent work] without that kind of help."