J.C. Romero, suspended for 50 games while with the Phillies in 2009 after a positive test for a banned substance, has settled a lawsuit against the creators and distributors of a supplement that he said caused him to fall astray of the league's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Romero, a veteran left-handed reliever who signed as a free agent with the Cardinals last month, told the New York Daily News of the settlement.
"I didn't cheat," Romero told the newspaper. "Some other people were being negligent, and I had to pay the price. But I've been using this to educate other players. I haven't been able to be the same since I was suspended. I didn't believe the suspension could affect me the way it did."
Romero tested positive for androstenedione in August 2008, and he requested a hearing to contest the matter. Romero had been using a product called 6-OXO Extreme, and after testing, it was confirmed that the supplement was tainted.
That finding wasn't enough to prevent the suspension, which Romero served at the start the 2009 season. He subsequently filed suit against GNC, The Vitamin Shoppe and two companies -- Ergopharm and Proviant Technologies -- linked to the manufacturing of the supplement. Both of the latter companies were once operated by Patrick Arnold, a chemist who served time in prison for his involvement in creating products for Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative, more widely known as BALCO.
Howard Jacobs, an attorney who represents Romero, told the Daily News that the case had advanced enough to have a trial date. He declined to discuss the terms of the settlement.
"J.C. said he was going to fight this, and he did," said Jacobs. "And now the matter is resolved."
Romero, who won two games in the 2008 World Series prior to his suspension, said he felt vindicated.
"The amount of money [in the settlement] isn't relevant," he said. "What is relevant is that people know my side. Some fans questioned my integrity. Now there is some closure, and I can say the 2008 World Series was legit. Now I can focus on dominating for another five years, hopefully."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.