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Ervin Santana pledges to spend suspension fighting child abuse

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Just days after Minnesota Twins pitcher Ervin Santana was hit with an 80-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, he's making a pledge to spend his suspension fighting child abuse.

In a Twitter video posted Sunday, Santana said: "I'm going to use this time productively to help Simon fight child sex abuse."

Simon is part of an Indiegogo campaign with a message "Simon Says, Just Tell." Celebrities such as Taye Diggs are promoting the Stop Abuse campaign.

According to a 2006 CDC study quoted by the campaign website, one in four girls and one in five boys will have experienced sexual abuse by the time they are 18 years old.

Fox 9 reports more than 250,000 children in North America have seen the award-winning marionette show which teaching kids how to report abuse and stop it.

Santana's suspension

Santana signed the highest free-agent contract in Twins history during the off season for four years at $55 million. But just a few days ago he was suspended until July.

The team issued a statement about the situation.

“We were disappointed to learn of the suspension of Ervin Santana for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. We fully support Major League Baseball’s policy and its efforts to eliminate performance enhancing substances from our game. Per the protocol outline in the Joint Drug Program, the Minnesota Twins will not comment further on this matter.”

Santana apologized in a statement and said he "would never knowingly take anything illegal to enhance my performance. That's just not me, never has been and never will."

The Twins opening the season Monday on the road against the Detroit Tigers.

Right-hander Phil Hughes will start, which is a first for him, MLB.com reports.

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