Roney, a 27-year-old right-hander, is 2-0 with an 0.90 ERA in five relief appearances at Triple-A Syracuse. He signed with the Blue Jays last November and was sent outright to the minors on March 22. He was penalized under baseball's minor league drug-testing program, and his suspension began Saturday, the commissioner's office said Monday.
Drugs of abuse subject to suspensions for positive tests include cocaine, LSD, opiates, Ecstasy, GHB and PCP. Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said the team was investigating other ways to punish Roney.
"We're looking into what we can do," he said. "It's hard for me to feel sorry for anybody who does something and gets caught. If you're close to being a big league player and you get involved in anything, shame on you."
Roney has a 1-10 record in the major leagues, going 1-9 in 11 starts and 34 relief appearances for Detroit in 2003 and 0-1 in three relief appearances for Oakland last year. His contract calls for him to receive $15,000 per month while in the minors and $430,000 per season while in the majors, meaning he will lose about $30,000.
Ricciardi was particularly frustrated because Roney was one of the candidates to fill in while the Blue Jays are without closer B.J. Ryan, on the 60-day disabled list with a sore left elbow.
"He was pitching great," Ricciardi said. "We had even talked about bringing him up at one time. He was in the mix."
In addition, Detroit right-hander Sendy Vazquez was penalized for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance under the minor league program and was suspended for 50 games, starting last Friday. In four starts at Class A Lakeland, he was 0-3 with an 8.20 ERA.