Major League Baseball has suspended one of Cincinnati's top pitching prospects for lying about his age, a source familiar with the case told Baseball America.
Righthander Jonathan Correa, who entered the year ranked 26th on the Reds Top 30 prospects list, was placed on the disqualified list and received a one-year suspension from MLB for lying about his age. Correa's real age or identity were not immediately known and a Reds official did not return a call yesterday afternoon seeking comment. BA will update with more details as they become available.
Correa signed out of the Dominican Republic on Jan. 22, 2008, presenting himself with a Sept. 13, 1990 date of birth that would have made him 20 right now. Correa pitched four games for the Dominican Summer League Reds in 2008 until he received a 50-game suspension when he tested positive for Boldenone, an anabolic steroid prescribed for veterinary use. Correa then had Tommy John surgery to repair a torn elbow ligament once his season was done.
Correa, who is 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, made his U.S. debut last year in the Rookie-level Arizona League, where he had a 2.06 ERA, 49 strikeouts and nine walks in 39 1/3 innings. Correa ranked as the league's No. 12 prospect, running his fastball up to 94 mph with a solid curveball with slurvy break. Toward the end of the season he received a promotion to the Rookie-level Pioneer League, where he had a 5.00 ERA and a 34-10 K-BB mark in 27 innings. He was expected to either return to the Pioneer League or open in low Class A Dayton but he has not pitched this season.
While it's unusual for a player who has already signed and played in the United States to receive a one-year suspension for age fraud, international sources have said that MLB has been going back to do background investigations on players who are currently playing in the U.S. minor leagues. MLB investigated Reds outfielder Yorman Rodriguez last year but decided that his age and identity are correct. Rodriguez had signed with the Reds for $2.5 million out of Venezuela in 2008.
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