Rizzo fights tears

PARKLAND, Fla. — Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo fought back tears as he spoke at a Florida vigil for the 17 victims killed in a shooting at his former high school, saying we’re going to be “a bit broken for a while.”

Rizzo left spring training Thursday for his hometown of Parkland. He is a 2007 graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a site now swarmed by law enforcement, grieving students and makeshift memorials following among the deadlines school shootings in U.S. history.

“I went to Stoneman Douglas. I grew up at Stoneman Douglas, I played on those fields, I went to those classes, I studied in those classrooms, “ he said Thursday, his voice breaking as many in the audience of more than 1,000 were heard crying.

He noted that he is “a Parklander for life,” and promised “whatever comfort I can give.”

His parents still live in the area. In November, Rizzo donated $150,000 to his alma mater to help toward lights for the baseball and softball fields.

The slugger read his remarks from a paper, noting he felt like the cycle of school violence happens all too often.

“We get horrified that this violence is inflicted on our kids, we get angry that there’s nothing we can do and nothing is done about it and then we ultimately get immune and move on to something else,” Rizzo said. “But then it happens in our own town … and we realize it could happen to us at our safe and tight knit community Parkland.

Manager Joe Maddon exchanged text messages with Rizzo before he left town and encouraged him to go. He is expected back by Monday for the club’s first full-squad workout.

“While I don’t have all the answers, I know that something has to change before this is visited on another community and another community.”

Little Indian suspended

NEW YORK (AP) — Cincinnati pitcher Jake Ehret has been suspended for the first 50 games of the season under baseball’s minor league drug program following a second positive test for a drug of abuse.

Cleveland outfielder Carlos Ventura was banned for 72 games after a positive test for the performance-enhancing drug Stanozolol, the commissioner’s office said Friday.

Ehret, a 24-year-old right-hander, is on the roster of Triple-A Louisville of the International League after going 1-2 with a 7.62 ERA in 36 relief appearances last year at Class A Daytona of the Florida State League and Double-A Pensacola of the Southern League.

The 19-year-old Ventura hit .161 with three homers, 20 RBIs and 42 strikeouts in 124 at-bats with the Dominican Summer League Indians.

There have been 18 players suspended this year under the minor league program and three under the major league program: Houston pitcher Dean Deetz, Washington catcher Raudy Read and Pittsburgh pitcher Nik Turley.