Two more minor league players have run afoul of baseball's drug prevention and treatment program, each earning 50-game suspensions after testing positive for banned substances.
Twins minor league catcher Michael Quesada batted .234/.329/.313 in 64 at-bats for Rookie-level Elizabethton this season prior to testing positive for Methylhexaneamine. Minnesota selected him from Sierra (Calif.) JC in the 24th round of the 2010 draft.
Released by the Giants on July 18, free agent third baseman John Eshleman tested positive for metabolites of Nandrolone (commonly sold as Deca-Durabolin) and will sit out 50 games without pay if and when he signs with another organization. He batted .211/.274/.246 in 57 at-bats for low Class A Augusta this season. Eshleman he joined the Giants as an 11th-round pick from Mount San Jacinto (Calif.) JC in 2009.
Leiva, 18, tested positive for metabolites of both Stanozolol (commonly sold as Winstrol) and Nandrolone (commonly sold as Deca-Durabolin), both anabolic steroids. Leiva signed with the Braves out of Nicaragua last year in July for $120,000–Atlanta's sixth-highest international signing bonus in 2011–and was pitching in the Dominican Summer League. Leiva threw 87-89 mph when he signed but has increased his fastball to the low-90s, complementing it with a curveball. He throws strikes but had a 5.27 ERA in 13 2/3 innings over eight relief appearances with four walks and nine strikeouts this year.
Bermudez, 19, tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol. He had been pitching in the Venezuelan Summer League, where he had a 5.40 ERA in six relief appearances over 10 innings with nine walks and two strikeouts.
Major League Baseball handed down 50-game suspensions without pay to three minor league players that resulted from failed drug tests.
• Most notably, Pirates low Class A West Virginia lefty Zack Dodson incurred his penalty after a second violation for what the game's Joint Drug Agreement classifies as a drug of abuse. Pittsburgh signed Dodson, a fourth-round selection in 2009, away from a Baylor commitment with a $600,000 bonus, though he hasn't developed as quickly as the organization had hoped.
In his second crack at the South Atlantic League, Dodson went 6-6, 4.86 through 21 starts with an uninspiring 67-to-40 strikeout-to-walk ratio (with a scouting report to match) in 100 innings. The 22-year-old's changeup has been his best pitch as a pro, but he'll need to add power to a mid- to high-80s fastball and soft curveball to find success at higher levels. [...] Continue Reading »
Four teenagers from the Dominican Summer League have been suspended 50 games each after testing positive for steroids.
MLB announced the suspensions of the following players:
• Mets RHP Nicolas Debora, an 18-year-old who tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol, an anabolic steroid commonly sold as Winstrol.
• Cubs LHP Andin Diaz, a 19-year-old who tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol.
• Yankees LHP Carlos Diaz, a 17-year-old who tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol.
• Royals RHP Jose Geraldo, a 17-year-old who tested positive for a stack of Stanzolol and Nanrdolone, an anabolic steroid often sold as Deca-Durabolin.
Rangers center-field prospect Jake Skole batted just .185/.288/.260 in 227 at-bats during the first half of the season with high Class A Myrtle Beach. Redemption for Skole, a 20-year-old whom Texas drafted 15th overall in 2010, will have to wait for the final days of August following news of his 50-game suspension. The commissioner's office announced the penalty in a press release issued Friday evening.
Skole will sit out 50 games without pay following a positive test for an amphetamine, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the minor league drug prevention and treatment program.
Big league outfielder Marlon Byrd received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for Tamoxifen, a performance-enhancing substance under Major League Baseball’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. Released by the Red Sox on June 12, the 34-year-old Byrd is a free agent, but because he's under contract for $6.5 million this season MLB placed him on the restricted list, effective through Aug. 20, which results in a 50-day loss of pay.
The MLB Players' Association released a statement from Byrd in the wake of the announcement. “I made an inexcusable mistake," he's quoted as saying. "Several years ago, I had surgery for a condition that was private and unrelated to baseball. Last winter, I suffered a recurrence of that condition and I was provided with a medication that resulted in my positive test. Although that medication is on the banned list, I absolutely did not use it for performance-enhancement reasons."
MLB also announced a minor league suspension on Monday. Cardinals high Class A Palm Beach outfielder Mike Swinson tested positive for Methylhexanimine and will sit for 50 games without pay. The 22-year-old batted .184/.237/.230 with two triples in 87 at-bats during Florida State League play this season. St. Louis selected Swinson in the 12th round of the 2008 draft out of a high school in Douglas, Ga.
A pair of Double-A righthanders received 50-game suspensions without pay, according to a press release issued by the commissioner's office today.
The Reds' Luis Atilano, who made one start for Triple-A Louisville and one for Double-A Pensacola, both in April, will sit out 50 games after a second violation for what Major League Baseball deems a drug of abuse. The 27-year-old signed with Cincinnati as a minor league free agent in December and has spent most of the season on the disabled list.
Double-A Portland's Marco Duarte, whom the Red Sox acquired in December when they traded Rule 5 pick Marwin Gonzalez to the Astros, tested positive for an amphetamine. The 25-year-old righty reliever logged 10 strikeouts, nine walks and 15 hits allowed in 17 innings for Portland, but had a much more aesthetically-pleasing 17-4 K-BB ratio with high Class A Salem through mid-May.
Nationals Triple-A righthanded reliever Josh Wilkie received a 50-game suspension for twice testing positive for a "drug of abuse." Major League Baseball announced the penalty in a press release issued Thursday evening.
Signed as a nondrafted free agent from George Washington in June 2006, Wilkie appeared in 18 games with Syracuse this season, his fourth tour of duty with the Chiefs. The 27-year-old logged a 4.76 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in 17 innings this season, though he owns a solid 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 1.25 WHIP over the course of 169 career Triple-A innings.
The commissioner's office announced two drug-related suspensions this week, one to a player in extended spring training and another to a retired player.
Phillies minor league righthander Carlos Best received a 25-game suspension with no violating substance cited in the Major League Baseball press release. A converted position player, Best has not pitched this season, and he appeared in just four games in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League last season. The 21-year-old allowed six runs and 11 baserunners in 7 2/3 innings, striking out six. Philadelphia signed Best out of the Dominican Republic in June 2008.
Should he return to active duty, former Indians minor league righty Clayton Ehlert must serve a 50-game suspension that he earned after twice testing positive for a "drug of abuse." The 24-year-old made two relief appearances for high Class A Carolina this season prior to his voluntarily retirement. Ehlert signed with Cleveland as a nondrafted free agent out of Texas A&M in June 2010.
Billy Rowell's time with the Orioles may have effectively reached its end following Major League Baseball's announcement today that the 23-year-old has earned a 50-game suspension for twice testing positive for a so-called drug of abuse. According to an MLB press release, Rowell's suspension begins on June 18, the start date for the short-season New York-Penn League season.
The length of the suspension all but rules out Rowell's participation with Aberdeen this summer, and he qualifies for minor league free agency in November. A return engagement in Baltimore seems unlikely at this time.
The first high school position player drafted in 2006, Rowell failed to live up to his potential as a power-hitting third baseman, so the new Orioles front office this spring converted him to the mound—specifically righthanded reliever. Held back in extended spring training, he has not yet pitched in a professional game.
Rowell batted .250/.316/.371 in 1,363 plate appearances for high Class A Frederick during three summers in the Carolina League from 2008 through ’10. He topped out with Double-A Bowie for 41 games last season, putting up a .547 OPS in 136 PA.
Red Sox minor league righthander Mathew Price made just three appearances last season, the first of his career, following his recovery from Tommy John surgery. The 22-year-old won't get back on the mound this season any time soon, however, after he violated the minor league drug prevention and treatment program by twice testing positive for a so-called drug of abuse. Major League Baseball announced the suspension today.
Boston selected Price in the eighth round of the 2010 draft from Virginia Tech and paid him a $415,000 bonus as an eligible sophomore. He began this season on the low Class A Greenville disabled list and did not appear in a game prior to his suspension.
Rays minor league shortstop Tim Beckham, the first pick in the 2008 draft, restored a bit of luster to his diminished prospect star last season when the 21-year-old reached Triple-A and swatted a career-high 12 homers—16 if you count the Arizona Fall League.
Beckham ceded a lot of that goodwill today following Major League Baseball's announcement that he must serve a 50-game suspension, effective immediately, for twice failing a test for a so-called drug of abuse.
Beckham began the season with Triple-A Durham but had gotten off to a slow start, going 11-for-54 (.204) with two doubles and a triple in 13 games.
The Rays issued a press release in the aftermath of the announcement. In it Beckham is quoted as saying, “I regret that my poor judgment resulted in me letting my teammates and the Tampa Bay Rays organization down . . .
"I recognize that I am blessed to be able to play baseball for a living. I owe it to my teammates, my family, and to myself to respect the game and the responsibilities that go with playing it as a professional. I am sorry.” [...] Continue Reading »
The commissioner's office announced a pair of 50-game suspensions, both tied to performance-enhancing substance use, handed out to minor league pitchers. Both players tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol.
White Sox minor league righthander Andre Rienzo notched a Carolina League-leading 31 strikeouts through his first 25 innings with high Class A Winston-Salem. Now the 23-year-old Brazilian will miss the next two months. Rienzo, who also spent last season with the Dash, went 3-0, 1.08 through four starts this season, allowing just 17 hits and zero home runs.
Indians minor league lefthander Harold Guerrero finished last season with low Class A Lake County but had not yet debuted this season. The 21-year-old spent the majority of 2011 with short-season Mahoning Valley, where he ran up a 6.14 ERA in 16 appearances, seven of them starts. He struck out 36 and walked 25 in 48 1/3 innings.
Righthander Angel Guzman signed with the Dodgers as a minor league free agent in December, but the long-time Cub has yet to take the field for his new organization. Now that debut date has been pushed back by 50 games following Guzman's suspension.
The 29-year-old violated baseball's drug prevention and treatment program, twice testing positive for a so-called drug of abuse.
Guzman ranked as the Cubs' No. 1 prospect following the 2003 season, and he reached Chicago every season from 2006 through ’09, logging 157 innings and posting a 4.82 ERA and 1.43 WHIP to go with 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings. He pitched sporadically during the past two seasons while dealing with injuries.
The commissioner's office announced a pair of 50-game suspensions today in which both minor league players tested positive for performance-enhancing substances.
Marlins first baseman Jaime Ortiz, who has gone 6-for-32 (.188) with a home run for Double-A Jacksonville this season, tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol. Miami selected him from the Dodgers system in last winter's minor league Rule 5 draft.
Cardinals righthander Jose Pasen tested positive for metabolites of Nandrolone. He finished last season in the Rookie-level Appalachian League and opened this year in extended spring training. He's a converted right fielder whose mound experience consists of four seasons in short-season ball, though unlike many converts he works as a starting pitcher (3.38 ERA, 1.24 WHIP in 232 innings).
The slow development of Orioles minor league catcher Michael Ohlman has hit another speed bump. The 21-year-old drew a 50-game suspension after he violated the minor league drug and prevention program by twice testing positive for a so-called drug of abuse.
Ohlman began the season on the disabled list as he recovers from a shoulder injury he sustained in a car accident during spring training. He spent last season with low Class A Delmarva and batted .224/.320/.307 with four homers in 375 at-bats.
The Orioles spent $995,000 to buy Ohlman out of a Miami commitment, betting on his power potential while hoping his athleticism would enable him to stay behind the plate even at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds. He hasn't delivered on that promise as a professional—he carries a .613 OPS through 744 plate appearances in the low minors—and now he'll be out until at least June while he serves his suspension.
Orioles minor league catcher Brian Ward received a 50-game suspension after a second failed test for a drug of abuse. Major League Baseball made the announcement today.
Ward signed as a nondrafted free agent from Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) in 2009 and advanced to high Class A Frederick last season, where he batted .254/.339/.382 in 335 at-bats.
Shortstop Jose Torres, who finished last season with high Class A Jupiter in the Marlins system, drew a 50-game suspension for testing positive for Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a performance-enhancing substance. A Major League Baseball press release issued today refers to Torres as a free agent, implying that the Marlins released the 21-year-old this spring.
Torres signed with Florida on July 2, 2007, and batted .242/.296/.278 in 889 career at-bats for four Marlins affiliates.
Minor league teams begin play in little more than a week, but today Major League Baseball announced that two players will not be in their teams' Opening Day lineups. Both players received 50-game suspensions for violating the game's minor league drug prevention and treatment program.
Cardinals 23-year-old minor league catcher Cody Stanley tested positive for Methylhexaneamine and Tamoxifen and will miss at least the season's first two months. A fourth-round pick from UNC Wilmington in 2010, he caught 80 games for low Class A Quad Cities last season, honing his receiving chops by working with Cardinals power-pitching prospects Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal.
Stanley batted .264/.317/.425 with 11 homers in 379 at-bats for Quad Cities last season, often slotting in behind dynamic outfield prospect Oscar Taveras in the lineup. In fact, Stanley and Taveras have powered the offensive attacks for the 2010 Johnson City Cardinals (Appalachian League) and 2011 Quad Cities River Bandits (Midwest), a pair of Cardinals minor league champions.
Twins lefthander Aaron Thompson failed a second test for a so-called drug of abuse and will sit out 50 games. He signed with Minnesota in December as a minor league free agent after spending last season in the Pirates organization. The Twins had ticketed him to Triple-A Rochester after the 25-year-old spent the bulk of the past four seasons in Double-A.
Thompson throws five pitches from a compact, efficient delivery, but his Double-A results, including a 5.03 ERA, 1.55 WHIP and 1.8 K-BB ratio in 449 innings, have been less than stellar. The Marlins drafted him 22nd overall in 2005 and then traded him to the Nationals straight-up for Nick Johnson at the ’09 trade deadline. The Pirates claimed him on waivers following the 2010 season.
A Major League Baseball press release identified two violators of the minor league drug prevention and treatment program. Both pitchers now face 50-game suspensions.
Blue Jays minor league lefthander Mitchell Taylor failed a second test for a drug of abuse. The 2010 seventh-round pick went 4-2, 4.23 in 13 appearances for Rookie-level Bluefield last year, helping to lead the club to the Appalachian League finals. The 19-year-old ranked fifth in the league in WHIP (1.16) and fourth in opponent average (.242) while striking out 61 in 55 1/3 innings. Taylor signed for $367,500 out of Spring (Texas) High.
Free agent righthander Matt Rusch also failed a second test for a drug of abuse, so his 50-game suspension begins if and when he signs with another major league organization. The Red Sox signed the 28-year-old Rusch out of the independent Can-Am League last Aug. 15, and he made just four starts for Double-A Portland before attaining free agency in November. He finished with a 5.06 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 21 1/3 innings. Rusch also pitched in the Tigers system from 2005 to ’09.
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