SEOUL, July 4 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean baseball pitcher has been suspended for 10 games for doping, the country's top pro league said on Friday.
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said right-hander Lee Yong-chan of the Doosan Bears failed a drug test and that it punished him under the league's anti-doping policy.
The KBO said Lee, 25, submitted his urine sample in May and tested positive for betamethasone, a type of steroid.
According to the league, Lee attended a hearing with the KBO's anti-doping committee and explained that he had taken prescribed medication to treat skin conditions.
The KBO said, however, that Lee didn't apply for therapeutic use exemption (TUE) prior to taking medication, as stipulated in the league's anti-doping regulations.
The league said it informed Lee and the Bears of the positive test on June 25 and handed down its suspension after hearing Lee's appeal.
The suspension takes effect immediately with the Bears' Friday game versus the Samsung Lions.
In his seventh season for the Seoul-based Bears, Lee has gone 3-3 with 10 saves in 27 appearances with a 3.65 ERA in 2014.
In 2009, former major league pitcher Runelvys Hernandez, who had signed with the Lions, tested positive for a banned substance, but he had been released by the Lions before the test results were made public. A year later, the Kia Tigers' Ricardo Rodriguez, also an ex-big league pitcher, failed his doping test, but his results, too, were announced after the Tigers had already released him.
In 2012, Kia's catcher Kim Sang-hoon tested positive for a banned substance, but the KBO didn't suspend him under a therapeutic use exemption. Kim and his team doctors successfully proved that the substance was contained in medication he'd been prescribed to treat a foot injury.
In October 2011, the Bears' catcher Kim Jae-hwan failed a doping test before the Baseball World Cup that same year. Though the test was done during the KBO offseason, the league still suspended him for 10 games in the 2012 season.
One former KBO pitcher, Daniel Rios, failed a drug test while playing for the Yakult Swallows in Japan in 2008, one year after winning the KBO MVP for the Bears.
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