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Spiezio undergoing treatment for abuse of unknown substance

Friday, August 10, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:13 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008
Cardinals’ Scott Spiezio will “absolutely” return this season, manager Tony La Russa said.

ST. LOUIS —­ Cardinals utility player Scott Spiezio voluntarily sought treatment for “possible problems related to substances” that the team did not specify.

Spiezio, who has relished a hard-rocking image through his 12 seasons in the major leagues, was placed on the restricted list Thursday and will be paid while he undergoes treatment. He has not played since Sunday.

St. Louis manager Tony La Russa would not say what substances were involved or where the treatment will take place. La Russa said the team learned of the problem Wednesday night, and expected that Spiezio “absolutely” will return this season.

“It speaks highly of Scott to come forward admitting recognition of a potential problem,” Cardinals physician Dr. George Paletta said. “This allows the organization to provide him access to the appropriate resources for further evaluation and treatment.”

It wasn’t known whether Spiezio’s situation involved drugs of abuse, performance-enhancing drugs, stimulants, alcohol or something else. He is not being disciplined by Major League Baseball under its drug program.

The Cardinals said in a statement that “Spiezio came forward to the club concerned about possible problems related to substances he was taking unbeknown to the team’s medical staff.”

Before Wednesday’s game, La Russa said he thought Spiezio had been hampered by a minor medical concern.

“I wasn’t sure until yesterday that there was something besides a virus or a bug or whatever,” La Russa said.

His absence hurts the Cardinals mostly at third base, where he was the backup to Scott Rolen. The Cardinals recalled outfielder Rick Ankiel instead of adding another infielder.

La Russa said Aaron Miles would back up at third base and that outfielder So Taguchi also could help in the infield.

Spiezio has a heavy metal band, SandFrog, and played on television with Zakk Wylde, a guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne. He has dyed his goatee bright red since joining the Cardinals as a non-roster invitee to spring training in 2006.


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