Ji-Man Choi, the Mariners’ No. 25 prospect, has been suspended for 50 games without pay after testing positive for methandienone, a performance-enhancing substance.
In a statement, Choi said that while he did not knowingly use a banned substance, he would accept the suspension.
“A banned substance was detected in my urine sample,” Choi said. “I do not know what I could have taken that caused me to test positive. I have not and never would knowingly use anything illegal to enhance my performance. However, I also understand that without an explanation I must serve a suspension and I accept that. I look forward to putting this behind me and to returning to help the Mariners ballclub once my suspension has ended.”
Signed out of South Korea in 2009, the 23-year-old first baseman has played four years in Seattle’s system. He had a breakthrough 2013 as he transitioned from catcher to first base and was chosen for the Futures Game.
He is a selective hitter, but lacks the prototypical power profile of a first baseman, although he hit 18 homers last season at three levels. This year, he went .394/.500/.545 in 10 games.