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Logan Lombana returns from suspension for C.R. Kernels

Relief pitcher doesn't know what triggered positive PED test

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CEDAR RAPIDS — He has dealt with the stigma of having his name thrown out there nationally in a bad way. He found the courage to tell his parents, which was perhaps the toughest part.

But what gnaws at Logan Lombana isn’t being called a cheater or anything like that. It’s that he doesn’t have a concrete answer.

The Cedar Rapids Kernels relief pitcher doesn’t know what exactly he ingested that made him fail a test for performance-enhancing drugs.

“It’s been a very tough situation, obviously,” he said Saturday night, after his club’s 7-4, 10-inning loss to Peoria at Veterans Memorial Stadium. “Just not really knowing exactly what caused the whole thing to this day is tough. At the end of the day, it is what it is. It happened. They told me what the banned substance was, but I don’t know what vitamin I was taking that caused this ... I wish I could tell you, wish I could tell the guys. But that’s the thing I am more frustrated about than anything.”

Like all minor leaguers, Lombana, 22, was given a urine test during spring training in mid-March. Assigned to the Kernels, he was told an hour before the season opener April 7 that his test came back positive for Ibutamoren, a growth hormone.

He appealed the results of the test, providing Major League Baseball a list of every single thing he was taking. That appeal was denied, and he was given an 80-game suspension May 9.

That suspension ended Thursday, and he was assigned back to Cedar Rapids by the parent Minnesota Twins. He threw a perfect eighth inning Saturday, including a strikeout.

“Good to be back,” the right-hander from Long Beach State said. “Good to be back with the guys and doing what I love to do.”

Lombana took some college classes during his hiatus, returning to the Twins’ minor-league complex in Fort Myers, Fla., 2 1/2 weeks ago. He said he has not taken a single vitamin or supplement since he found out in April he had failed his spring training test.

He said he passed three drug tests last season while pitching for Rookie-level Elizabethton.

“I tried to fight it, sent in everything I could, told them everything I was taking. Their response was ‘We don’t have any answers for you,’” he said. “I’ve got to be more aware of the things I’m putting into my body, be aware of the people I’m around and make sure no one is putting anything into my drinks or any of that kind of thing.”

The Kernels (60-51, 24-18 second half) lost for the third-straight game, as Peoria parlayed three hits, a walk, an error and a wild pitch from reliever Anthony McIver (0-2) into its winning rally. Cedar Rapids had tied the game with three runs in the eighth.

Nelson Molina had three hits and an RBI as C.R.’s starting shortstop, a day after breaking his nose when a grounder deflected off his glove and into his face. Second baseman Luis Arraez sat out again because of what was determined to be a cyst on the inside of his right wrist.

Arraez took some swings before Saturday’s game and could play as early as Sunday, Manager Jake Mauer said. The teams play the second of their four-game series at 2:05.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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