Bookmark this page to keep up with all the drug suspensions—as they’re announced by the commissioner’s office—handed out to domestic minor league players in 2013. Positive tests for performance-enhancers, recreational drugs (a.k.a. drugs of abuse) and stimulants count as violations of the minor league drug prevention and treatment program.
Dec. 4: Yankees RHP Ryan Baker
Yankees minor league Ryan Baker, a catcher-turned-pitcher who appeared in two Triple-A games in 2013, has been suspended 50 games for refusing to take an offseason drug test.
The 29-year-old signed with the Yankees in 2008 as a nondrafted free agent from Cincinnati. Baker has served as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s emergency catcher the past two seasons, and though he’s listed as a backstop, he’s made more appearances as a pitcher (four) than he has as a catcher (two). Baker has a career .139/.226/.204 batting line with just two career home runs, both of which came at short-season Staten Island in 2009.
Nov. 1: Cubs SS Elliot Soto, White Sox RHP Nick Blount
Each Chicago organization got hit with a 50-game, post-Halloween suspension for one of its minor league players, the commissioner’s office announced in a press release.
Cubs shortstop Elliot Soto, who finished the season at high Class A Daytona, twice tested positive for a drug of abuse. A 15th-round pick in 2010 from Creighton, he hit .219/.303/.281 in 84 games for Daytona and Double-A Tennessee.
White Sox righthander Nick Blount tested positive for an amphetamine on the heels of a successful pro debut at Rookie-level Great Falls. The 2013 ninth-rounder went 4-4, 3.18 in 16 appearances (nine starts) for the Voyagers, striking out 41 and walking 17 in 51 innings. He attended Southern Polytechnic State in Marietta, Ga.
Taylor Guerrieri, the Rays’ first-round pick in 2011, has been suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball after twice testing positive for a drug of abuse.
Guerrieri was considered one of the top arms in the 2011 draft and a potential top 10 pick based purely on talent, but he fell to No. 24 overall because many teams had concerns about his makeup coming out of high school in Columbia, S.C.
The 20-year-old is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery he had in late July, though he went 6-2, 2.01 in 14 starts at low Class A Bowling Green before getting hurt. Because of how the rules work, Guerrieri will be able to serve his suspension during his injury rehabilitation in 2014 and likely will miss no actual games because of the suspension.
Guerreri’s suspension gives the Rays a streak that no team would want to have. Tampa Bay’s first-round picks in 2008 (Tim Beckham), 2010 (Josh Sale) and 2011 (Guerreri) all have all been suspended after testing positive for drugs of abuse. Ryan Brett, the Rays’ 2010 third-round pick, also earned a drug suspension.
A positive test for a performance-enhancing substance lands 21-year-old Reds minor league third baseman Robert Ramirez on the restricted list with a 50-game suspension without pay. The commissioner’s office states in a press release that “metabolites of Nandrolone” was the violating substance.
Signed out of the Dominican Republic in August 2009, Ramirez batted .207/.243/.312 in a season split between low Class A Dayton (48 games) and Rookie-level Billings (34), filling in at every infield position except shortstop.
Brewers minor league righthander Dylan Brock, a 34th-round pick this year, received a 50-game suspension without pay, the commissioner’s office announced today. The 20-year-old tested positive for the performance-enhancer Clomiphene, a press release said.
A product of Glendale (Ariz.) CC, Brock made nine relief appearances for the Rookie-level Arizona League club this summer, striking out three and walking two in 12 2/3 innings. He notched a 2.84 ERA.
Sept. 20: Twins RHP Dallas Gallant
Twins minor league righthander Dallas Gallant received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for an amphetamine, a violation of the minor league drug program.
Gallant, a 23rd-round pick from the 2010 draft, finished the season at low Class A Cedar Rapids, making 14 relief appearances and going 1-0, 5.51 with 28 strikeouts and 13 walks in 16 1/3 innings. The 24-year-old played college ball at Sam Houston State.
Sept. 17: Mariners RHP Forrest Snow
Mariners minor league righthander Forrest Snow twice tested positive for a drug of abuse, violating the game’s testing program and receiving a 50-game suspension without pay.
The 24-year-old reliever finished the season with 19 appearances at Triple-A Tacoma, where he went 4-0, 2.92 with 43 strikeouts in 40 innings. He walked 17 and allowed 34 hits for a 1.28 WHIP. A local product who attended high school in Seattle and played college ball at Washington, Snow joined the Mariners organization as a 36th-round selection in the 2010 draft.
Sept. 4: Cardinals 2B Brett Wiley
Cardinals minor league second baseman Brett Wiley tested positive for an amphetamine, in violation of the drug program, and must serve a 50-game suspension without pay.
A 13th-round pick in 2012 from Jefferson (Mo.) JC, Wiley bounced from low Class A Peoria (two games) to Rookie-level Johnson City (33 games) to short-season State College (25 games) this season. The 21-year-old batted a composite .308/.395/.462 with 19 extra-base hits, 10 steals and 29 walks in 60 games. Wiley’s .308 average ranked fifth in the Cardinals system among qualifiers, and the lefthanded hitter has the type of grinding plate approach and positional flexibility (he also plays third base) that could make him a valuable contributor.
Aug. 30: Astros SS Jose Fernandez, 1B Mike Martinez & OF D’Andre Toney
A trio of Astros farmhands have been suspended for 50 games without pay for violating the minor league drug program. All three tested positive for an amphetamine.
First baseman Mike Martinez and outfielder D’Andre Toney, teammates at short-season Tri-City, will miss the New York-Penn League stretch run and (possibly) playoffs, seeing as the ValleyCats are in the wild-card hunt.
A 36th-round pick from Florida International in 2012, Martinez ranked second in the NYPL with 11 home runs at the time of his suspension. The 23-year-old hit .225/.291/.413 through 59 games.
Houston acquired Toney in June 2012 as the player to be named in the deal that sent Humberto Quintero and Jason Bourgeois to the Royals. The fleet 21-year-old stole 13 bases in 15 tries at Tri-City, though he paired that with a .219/.290/.352 batting line through 47 games.
Rookie-level Gulf Coast League shortstop Jose Fernandez, who signed out of the Dominican Republic in July 2009, hit .258/.310/.424 with a homer and three steals in 16 games. The 20-year-old had been demoted in-season from the short-season New York-Penn League, where he went 4-for-23 (.174).
Aug. 29: White Sox C Nick Parent
White Sox minor league catcher Nick Parent became the latest player to test positive for a performance-enhancer, in his case metabolites of Stanozolol, and receive a 50-game suspension.
Chicago’s 36th-round pick this year out of Cal State Monterey Bay, Parent is the son of White Sox bench coach Mark Parent, the 13-year big league veteran. The 23-year-old Nick Parent hit .114/.244/.114 in 70 at-bats for Rookie-level Bristol after signing.
The commissioner’s office simultaneously announced suspensions for two players in the Venezuelan Summer League: Phillies righthander Gustavo Armas (metabolite of Nandrolone) and Tigers shortstop Moises Bello (metabolite of Boldenone).
Three minor leaguers at three different classifications received 50-game suspensions without pay for three different violations of the drug program, the commissioner’s office announced in a press release.
Triple-A Buffalo catcher Sean Ochinko, a Blue Jays 11th-round pick in 2009, tested positive for an amphetamine. He batted a cumulative .231/.311/.344 in 91 games split fairly evenly between Buffalo and Double-A New Hampshire.
Mets lefthanded reliever Chase Huchingson, who signed as a nondrafted free agent out of Central Arkansas in 2010, received his suspension for a second violation for a drug of abuse. In 45 appearances at Double-A Binghamton this year he logged a 1.61 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and struck out 68 batters in 67 innings, while allowing a .125 average to lefty batters (including zero home runs) with his sidewinding delivery.
Angels right fielder Brandon Bayardi, a 36th-round pick this year who plays for Rookie-level Orem, tested positive for the stimulant Methylhexaneamine. The Nevada-Las Vegas product hit .252/.310/.394 with five homers in 37 games for the Owlz and also spent a week in the Arizona League after signing.
Cardinals minor league left fielder Yoenny Gonzalez received a 50-game suspension without pay for an unspecified violation of the minor league drug program, the commissioner’s office announced.
An eighth-round pick out of Central Florida JC in 2012, Gonzalez hit just .192/220/.269 in 104 at-bats at Rookie-level Johnson City this season. The 21-year-old is a plus runner, though he went 0-for-3 on stolen-base attempts this season after going 14-for-17 a year ago.
On the same day that Major League Baseball revealed the names of a dozen recipients of 50-game suspensions based on their involvement in the Biogenesis investigation, the commissioner’s office also publicized a 50-game penalty for Brewers minor league lefthander Will West.
West, who signed as a nondrafted free agent out of Tallahassee (Fla.) CC in 2011, tested positive on two occasions for a drug of abuse. The 21-year-old made three appearances in the Rookie-level Arizona League this season, allowing four runs on three hits in 5 1/3 innings.
West’s penalty turned out to be small news on a day that MLB announced lengthy suspensions for big league stars with links to the Biogenesis clinic: Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz (50 games), Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta (50 games) and Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (211 games, pending appeal). Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun had already agreed to a 65-game suspension on July 22.
Younger big leaguers such as Phillies lefthanded reliever Antonio Bastardo, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera and Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli also received 50-game suspensions, but this being Baseball America, the B-Day suspensions falling most under our purview were those handed to players in the minor leagues:
• Double-A San Antonio RHP Fautino de los Santos (Padres)
• Double-A Corpus Christi LHP Sergio Escalona (Astros)
• Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre OF Fernando Martinez (Yankees)
• Triple-A Tacoma C Jesus Montero (Mariners)
• Free agent LHP Jordan Norberto
• Double-A Binghamton OF Cesar Puello (Mets)
• Triple-A Las Vegas 2B Jordany Valdespin (Mets)
Montero, Puello and Valdespin were on 40-man rosters at the time of the suspensions, though every player on the list, save for Puello, has recent major league experience.
Blue Jays Double-A left fielder Brian Van Kirk received a 50-game suspension after failing multiple tests for what the minor league program deems a drug of abuse.
A 21st-round selection from Oral Roberts in 2008, Van Kirk is in the midst of his second campaign with New Hampshire of the Eastern League. He hit .278/.412/.355 with 13 extra-base hits in 70 games this season, though with 53 walks he ranked second in the EL with a .412 on-base percentage, behind only Binghamton’s Allan Dykstra.
Diamondbacks Double-A righthander Eric Smith, a second-round selection from Rhode Island in 2009, received a 50-game suspension without pay after a second violation for a drug of abuse. Major League Baseball made the announcement today.
Arizona added the 24-year-old Smith to its 40-man roster last November to shield him from the Rule 5 draft, but he made no major league appearances prior to being outrighted off the roster in June. The sinker/slider righty made 33 appearances (one start) for Double-A Mobile this season, logging a 7.11 ERA in 38 innings with 6.4 strikeouts and 5.0 walks per nine innings.
MLB also announced 50-game suspensions for a trio of Dominican Summer League players—Pirates righthander Delvin Hiciano, Indians shortstop Rubiel Martinez and Yankees lefthander Anderson Severino—who tested positive for “metabolites of Stanozolol.”
Rays minor league catcher Mark Thomas flunked two tests for recreational drug use and received a 50-game suspension, Major League Baseball announced today.
The 25-year-old Thomas shared catching responsibilities at Double-A Montgomery this season with Mayo Acosta, though he hit just .151/.195/.274 in 202 plate appearances.
Tampa Bay selected Thomas in the 22nd round of the 2006 draft, then signed him the following May out of Young Harris (Ga.) JC. He will qualify for minor league free agency in November if he doesn’t work out a new agreement with the Rays.
In his fifth pro season after signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, Morel will sit out 25 games for a “violation of the program,” according to a Major League Baseball press release. The 23-year-old posted a 3.76 ERA and 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 24 relief appearances this season, having spent 21 of those games at high Class A St. Lucie prior to receiving a recent demotion to low Class A Savannah.
Davis, who has not pitched this season and was placed on the 60-day disabled list on July 4, tested positive for a drug of abuse and will miss 50 games without pay. The 23-year-old began 2012 as a reliever for low Class A Augusta but worked his way into the rotation and finished the year at 6-8, 3.69. The Giants selected him in the 17th round of the 2011 draft out of Florida Atlantic.
Major League Baseball on Tuesday, June 25, announced a 50-game suspension for free agent lefthander Mike O’Connor, who tested positive for metabolites of Trenbolone. The 32-year-old has pitched for six organizations and in one independent league in a 12-year pro career that began as a seventh-round pick of the Montreal Expos in 2002.
The Twins released O’Connor on May 18 after signing him as a minor league free agent last November. In addition to the Expos/Nationals and Twins, he has pitched for the Padres, Royals, Mets and Yankees, making 35 appearances in the big leagues, most recently with the 2011 Mets.
Indians minor league righthander Dillon Howard rapidly accelerated his downward momentum with a 50-game suspension he earned for testing positive for an amphetamine, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the minor league drug program.
The 2011 second-round pick out of high school in Searcy, Ark., spent the first half of this season in extended spring training and had not yet made an appearance. Howard, who turns 22 next week, ran up a 7.90 ERA over 41 innings in the in the Rookie-level Arizona League last season, a performance mitigated somewhat by elbow soreness, but then that explanation was mitigated by the fact that he showed up to spring training out of shape.
The Indians struck gold with their first pick in the 2011 draft, taking Francisco Lindor, perhaps the best all-around shortstop prospect in the game. In the second round, Cleveland selected Howard, who signed for $1.85 million, and has plummeted in standing from the system’s No. 2 prospect entering the 2012 season to the No. 25 prospect entering this year.
Two well-traveled minor league players, most recently in the employ of the Dodgers, have received 50-game suspensions after testing positive for an amphetamine. Los Angeles apparently released righthander Ryan Acosta and third baseman C.J. Retherford—because a Major League Baseball press release refers to both players as free agents—upon learning of their violations of the minor league drug program.
Acosta, a 12th-round pick of the Cubs in 2007 who also has played in the Royals and Yankees systems, made 14 combined relief appearances for the Dodgers’ high Class A and Double-A affiliates this season.
Retherford, who signed with the White Sox in 2007 as a nondrafted free agent out of Arizona State, led the minors with 46 doubles in ’09 but fell short of reaching the majors after hitting .201 at Triple-A in ’10. He hit .219/.273/.404 in 47 games for Double-A Chattanooga in the Dodgers system this season. Retherford also has played in Braves and Tigers organizations.
The commissioner’s office announced the violations of the drug program and attendant penalties late Friday afternoon.
Brewers Double-A lefthander Alan Williams ran afoul of the minor league drug program and received a 50-game suspension without pay. He earned his penalty following a second positive test for a banned substance classified as a drug of abuse.
The 23-year-old Williams made 13 appearances for Huntsville this season, including three starts, and went 0-2, 3.00 with 32 strikeouts, 11 walks and 26 hits allowed in 30 innings.
Drafted twice by the Marlins in 2008 and ’09, Williams elected not to sign either time. He went undrafted out of Meridian (Miss.) CC in 2010, then latched on with Washington of the independent Frontier League in 2011 before Milwaukee signed him that June.
Reds low Class A righthander Daniel Tuttle joins rare company following his third violation of the minor league drug program. He tested positive a third time for a “drug of abuse,” triggering a 100-game suspension without pay based on his previous offenses.
Major League Baseball previously suspended Tuttle for 50 games in July 2011 following his second failed drug test. First-time offenders receive no suspension.
The 22-year-old Tuttle, whom the Reds signed out of Randleman (N.C.) High in the fifth round of the 2009 draft, made eight starts for low Class A Dayton last season but had not appeared in a game in 2013. He owns a 4.13 career ERA over parts of four pro seasons, all in the low minors.
Mets minor league righthander Christian Montgomery drew mixed reviews from scouts for his work ethic when he pitched high school ball in Indianapolis. The 2011 11th-rounder certainly didn’t win any converts with news Tuesday that he had flunked a second test for a “drug of abuse” and received a 50-game suspension without pay, as per the guidelines of the minor league drug program.
Signed for $250,000, Montgomery appeared in two games for Rookie-level Kingsport last season, allowing 10 runs and 15 baserunners in 7 2/3 innings. That’s the extent of his pro record. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Montgomery opened 2013 in extended spring training and now must sit out the first 50 games of the Appalachian League season before becoming eligible to play.
Two Red Sox minor league pitchers will miss 50 games after drawing suspensions for violating baseball’s drug program.
High Class A Salem lefthander Miguel Pena failed a second test for a drug of abuse and faces a 50-game suspension without pay. The 22-year-old made three starts for Salem this season and went 1-1, 3.46 with seven strikeouts, three walks and 17 hits allowed in 13 innings. The Red Sox selected Pena from San Jacinto (Texas) JC in the sixth round of the 2011 draft.
Dominican Summer League righthander Gerson Bautista tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol and also earned a 50-game suspension.
Righthander Daniel McCutchen made a rocky relief appearance for Triple-A Norfolk in the team’s first game of the season on Friday, but now he won’t be heard from again for nearly two months following news that he has been suspended for 50 games without pay.
Major League Baseball announced in a Saturday press release that the 30-year-old Orioles farmhand has tested positive for two performance-enhancing substances, Methenolone and a metabolite of Trenbolone. In his lone outing for the Tides, McCutchen allowed four runs in 1 2/3 innings, walking two and allowing three other baserunners via hits.
McCutchen signed with Baltimore last November after becoming a minor league free agent for the first time. He spent the previous four and a half seasons in the Pirates system, logging a 4.77 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in 189 innings for Pittsburgh but spending just as much time with Triple-A Indianapolis. The Yankees selected McCutchen in the 13th round of the 2006 draft, only to trade him—along with Jose Tabata, Jeff Karstens and Ross Ohlendorf—to the Pirates for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte at the ’08 trade deadline.
The commissioner’s office announced 50-game suspensions for two minor league players who failed two tests for what the testing program classifies as a drug of abuse.
Angels catcher Carlos Ramirez hit .204/.312/.276 in 275 at-bats for Double-A Arkansas last season, showing catch-and-throw skills but little in the way of offensive upside. He’ll resume his quest to become a backup catcher when he returns from his suspension in June. The Angels selected Ramirez from Arizona State in the eighth round of the 2009 draft.
Reds righthander Vaughn Covington, an 11th-round pick from a British Columbia high school in 2011, struggled with his control in the Rookie-level Arizona League last year, walking 22 and striking out 21 in 24 innings. He had Tommy John surgery in September 2010, and now he’ll miss most of 2013 because, as per an MLB press release, Covington’s suspension begins at the start for the AZL season.
Free agent righthander Mark Hamburger, released by the Astros on Feb. 13, must serve a 50-game suspension if he latches on with a new organization. He failed two tests for recreational drugs as defined by the minor league drug prevention and treatment program.
Signed as a nondrafted free agent by the Twins in 2007, Hamburger reached the big leagues briefly in 2011, making five appearances for Texas. The 26-year-old reliever pitched at the Triple-A level for the Rangers, Padres and Astros last season, notching 7.2 strikeouts and 4.1 walks per nine innings for three Pacific Coast League clubs.
The fifth and sixth drug suspensions of 2013 hit the newswire late Friday afternoon. Both minor league players affected will receive 50-game suspensions without pay.
Athletics righthander Gary Daley tested positive for the stimulant Methylphenidate. The 27-year-old made 34 appearances (18 starts) for Double-A Midland last season, going 10-10, 5.11 with 79 strikeouts and 71 walks in 118 innings. Oakland signed Daley in August 2010, following his release from the Cardinals, the organization that made him a third-round pick out of college in ’06.
Former Dodgers first baseman Austin Gallagher tested positive for the stimulant Methylhexaneamine. His penalty will take effect only if he signs with another organization, however, following his release from Los Angeles on Jan. 13. The 24-year-old Gallagher, the older brother of Royals prospect Cameron, hit .283/.383/.481 with 15 homers in 374 at-bats for high Class A Rancho Cucamonga last season, his third straight in the California League.
Blue Jays minor league reliever Alan Farina missed half of the 2012 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and now the righthander will miss at least the first two months of this season after failing multiple drug tests administered by Major League Baseball.
The 26-year-old Farina must serve a 50-game suspension without pay before he can appear in a minor league game, his penalty for twice testing positive for an unspecified “drug of abuse.” He actually began the season on Toronto’s 40-man roster, but a July 2 outright to high Class A Dunedin made him subject to the minor league drug testing program.
The Blue Jays drafted Farina out of Clemson in the third round in 2007, though injuries have slowed his climb to the big leagues. To this point, he’s topped out at Double-A New Hampshire, appearing in 34 games for the Fisher Cats in 2010-11 and recording ratios of 10.8 strikeouts and 3.9 walks per nine innings to go with a 1.47 ERA and 1.01 WHIP over 37 innings.
The commissioner’s office announced a pair of 50-game suspensions for two minor league players who tested positive for the stimulant Methylhexaneamine. The suspensions will take effect this season.
Free agent catcher Bryan Henry finished the season with high Class A Visalia, the Diamondbacks’ California League affiliate, going 5-for-29 (.172) in eight games. Arizona released him on Oct. 5.
Rays catcher David Wendt also finished last season in high Class A, playing for Charlotte of the Florida State League, where he batted .185/.214/.210 in 81 at-bats. He’s a 50th-round pick in 2009 from Dowling (N.Y.) College.
The Astros’ Jonathan Singleton finished last season in Double-A and ranks as the top first-base prospect in the minors, but his flight to Houston has been delayed with the revelation Wednesday that he failed multiple drug tests administered by Major League Baseball and must serve a 50-game suspension at the outset of 2013.
The 21-year-old Singleton twice tested positive for marijuana, which is classified as a “drug of abuse” in the minor league drug prevention and treatment program. “I accept the penalty and take full responsibility for my actions,” Singleton said in a statement. “I apologize to my parents, the Houston Astros and (general manager) Jeff Luhnow.”
Singleton hit .284/.396/.497 with 21 home runs in 461 at-bats for Double-A Corpus Christi in 2012, leading the Texas League in runs (94) while ranking second with 88 walks and fifth with 52 extra-base hits. He put up a .939 OPS in the second half and, he probably would have made his big league debut near the midpoint of the 2013 season, assuming he didn’t fall flat in Triple-A.
Given that he won’t get going until June this season, Singleton may have to wait until August or September before receiving a callup to Houston. The Astros may be tempted to add him to the 40-man roster at an earlier point, however, seeing as they’ll promote the 2009 draft pick at some point this season, regardless, to shield him from the Rule 5 draft. Houston’s 40-man is at capacity now, but included in that count are two big league Rule 5 picks, reliever Josh Fields and first baseman Nate Freiman, who could be waived during spring training.
Other prospects who will begin the 2013 season on the sidelines due to failed drug tests include Ryan Brett (Rays), Josh Sale (Rays) and Marcus Stroman (Blue Jays). Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal flunked a test while with San Diego, but with just 192 big league at-bats to his name, he’s not so far removed from being a prospect.