OAKLAND, Calif. -- Seattle Mariners rookie shortstop Mike Morse was suspended 10 days yesterday for violating baseball's steroids policy, and said he was still being punished for an ''enormous mistake" he made in 2003.
Morse became the ninth major league player penalized under the sport's tougher drug rules. He hit a go-ahead single in the seventh inning for a 3-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics Tuesday night, and yesterday the grievance by the players association to overturn the suspension was denied by arbitrator Shyam Das.
''This result is unfair and unfortunate. It punishes Michael Morse again for conduct for which he has already been punished," said Michael Weiner, the union's general counsel.
Morse was batting .287 with three home runs and 23 RBIs in 209 at-bats since being called up from Triple A earlier this season. He was acquired last season in the trade that sent pitcher Freddy Garcia to the Chicago White Sox.
''We think you cannot evaluate a program based on the results of a single case, that overall, the rules that we negotiated are designed to be strict but fair with the overall goal being to deter use," said Rob Manfred, executive vice president of labor relations in the commissioner's office.
In a statement before yesterday's 8-7 loss to the Athletics, Morse apologized to ''the fans, my teammates, the Mariners' organization, baseball, and to my family," and he offered an explanation: ''Back in November 2003 when I was 21 years old, I made an enormous mistake in my life: I took steroids while in the minor leagues," he said. ''My thigh muscle, which I had previously torn, had never healed and I was scared that my career was over. I was desperate and made a terrible mistake, which I deeply regret.
''In May 2004, I was punished and suspended, which I deserved, for my mistake. I embarrassed myself, my family, and my team. I am responsible for the mistake of taking steroids and the positive result was not due to some over-the-counter supplement, protein shake or tainted test."
Morse said the steroids, however, remained in his body and that he was again suspended in July 2004 while in the minors. He said those remnants resulted in another positive test this year, and he appealed those results.