Minor League Drug Suspensions 2014

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 2014. 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.

SEPT. 19

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• Phillies RHP Shane Watson
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substances: drug of abuse (second positive test)
Watson was the Phillies’ supplemental first-round pick in 2012 out of high school in Southern California whom they paid $1.291 million to pass up a USC commitment. At his best, the righthander could be a mid-rotation starter. He touches 95 mph and has a curveball that shows above-average potential. But he missed the 2014 season after shoulder surgery in January and now he’ll miss the first 50 games of the 2015 season.

SEPT. 16

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• Cardinals RHP Yeison Medina
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substances: Heptaminol
Medina, who’ll turn 22 on Oct. 2, was 4-1, 1.64 in 19 relief appearances for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals.

SEPT. 11

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• Rays RHP Lenny Linsky
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substances: Drug of abuse (second positive test)
Linsky, the Rays’ second-round pick in 2011 out of Hawaii, was one of the better relievers in the college ranks prior to being drafted, leading the Rainbows to their first regular-season Western Athletic Conference title in 19 years. At his best, Linsky works off a 92-94 mph sinking fastball that touches 96 and a slider with good deception. It’s the second positive test for Linsky, who last pitched for high Class A Charlotte in 2013.

• Free agent RHP Tyler Gonzales
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substances: Drug of abuse (second positive test)
A supplemental first-round pick in 2012, the San Antonio prep righthander, whose given first name is Aaron but goes by Tyler, signed for $750,000 but failed to advance past the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in three pro seasons before being released by the Blue Jays in July. He made 18 appearances (three starts), logging a 9.24 ERA and striking out as many as he walked (16) over 25 innings.

SEPT. 8

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• Braves OF Justin Black
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substances: Amphetamines
Black, 21, was drafted by the Braves out of high school in Billings, Mont., in the fourth round in 2012, when they lured him from a Nebraska commitment for $300,000. He hit .262/.349/.379 in his second year at Rookie-level Danville of the Appalachian League. Black’s best tool is his speed. He showed great improvement at the plate this season after looking overmatched his first two pro seasons.

AUG. 31

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• Astros RHP R.J. Alaniz
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substances: Drug of abuse
Signed as a non-drafted free agent out of high school in 2009, Alaniz’s senior season was canceled because of a swine flu outbreak in the Rio Grande Valley. He spent the summer pitching in tryouts and in a league based at Atlanta’s East Cobb complex before the Astros signed him for $150,000. At his best, Alaniz sat 92-95 mph with sink, but after promising results as a starter in 2010-11, Alaniz’s performance has gone south since and he was walking 7.98 batters per nine at Double-A Corpus Christi in a relief role this season. He’s still just 23.


AUG. 25

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• Yankees RHP Andy Beresford and 1B Bo Thompson
Suspension Length: 50 games each
Violating Substances: Amphetamines

Two Yankees minor leaguers were hit with suspensions Monday for amphetamine use. Beresford, a 2013, 19th-round draft pick from UNLV, was 2-2, 3.10 with low Class A Charleston and short-season Staten Island. He last pitched on Aug. 20. The slender 6-foot-7 sinkerballer was a fifth-year senior when New York drafted him and he turned 24 in February. He’s averaged 5.34 SO/9 in his brief pro career.

Thompson, whose first name is Leonard, was the Yankees’ 13th-round pick in June from the Citadel. The 5-foot-10, 255-pounder was drafted as a junior by New York but decided to begin his pro career, signing for about $60,000, he told the Charleston Post and Courier. At low Class A Charleston and the Gulf Coast League, Thompson was slashing just .182/.369/.232 across two levels.


AUG. 18

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• Pirates RHP Michael Clemens
Suspension Length: 68 games
Violating Substances: Human growth hormone
Clemens, a 17th-round pick of the Pirates in June from McNeese State, was 0-0, 2.00 with three saves in 13 appearances (18 IP, 14 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 20 SO) for Rookie-level Bristol of the Appalachian League. The righthander started and relieved at McNeese State.


AUG. 15

• Free agent RHP Francisco Almonte
Suspension Length: 72 games
Violating Substances: metabolite of Stanozolol
Almonte, a 6-foot-2, 170-pounder who will turn 19 on Aug. 20, was 3-1, 5.28 in nine appearances for the Astros DSL team before being released Aug. 12. He made his final appearance on Aug. 8 against the Yankees’ DSL team, pitching six innings and striking out seven.


AUG. 14

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• Mets RHP Derrick Bernard
Suspension Length: 62 games
Violating Substances: metabolite of Nandrolone
Bernard, an undrafted free agent from Sul Ross State (Texas) who signed with the Mets in June, appeared in six games with the GCL Mets, compiling an 0-0, 3.86 record in seven innings. He walked nine and struck out eight.


AUG. 12

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• Rays OF Josh Sale
Suspension Length: 50 games (second positive test)
Violating Substances: Drug of abuse
Sale, who was suspended at the end of 2012 for using amphetamines and then the entire 2013 season for “conduct detrimental to the team,” has been suspended again for a violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The 17th overall pick in 2010, Sale was playing at high Class A Charlotte and hitting just .238/.313/.344.


AUG. 6

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• Giants RHPs Jacob Dunnington
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substances: Drug of abuse
A non-drafted free agent out of high school in Washington, Dunnington was signed by the Giants in August 2009 for $2,500 and rose as high as No. 28 on the Giants’ prospect list after the 2012 season. The slight righthander (6-foot-2, 160), has a funky delivery akin to the former Angels reliever Scot Shields, but he pitched only 20 innings in 2013 and has not pitched in 2014 as he rehabs an undisclosed injury.


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• Reds SS Cesar Mejia
Suspension Length: 72 games
Violating Substances: metabolite of Boldenone
According to Major League Baseball, under the rules of the new program for a short-season league, a first violation receives a discipline of 80 games or the total number of championship season games in the league, whichever is shorter. The Dominican Summer League plays a 72-game championship season schedule, thus the suspension for 72 games. Mejia is in his third season in the DSL. At 6-foot-1, 165, Mejia has an OPS of .569 across three seasons.

JULY 30

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• Braves RHPs Victor Joaquin and Alvaro Silvestre
Suspension Length: 72 games
Violating Substances: metabolite of Nandrolone (Joaquin); metabolite of Boldenone (Silvestre)
The players, both 20, were in the Dominican Summer League. Silvestre was 3-0, 7.65 in his first season in the organization; Joaquin was 2-4, 4.40 in his first season. According to Major League Baseball, under the rules of the new program for a short-season league, a first violation receives a discipline of 80 games or the total number of championship season games in the league, whichever is shorter. The Dominican Summer League plays a 72-game championship season schedule, thus the suspensions of Joaquin and Silvestre are for 72 games each.

JULY 28

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• Brewers 3B Nick Delmonico
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: Amphetamines
Delmonico, acquired from the Orioles at the trade deadline last season for Francisco Rodriguez, got off to a late start in 2014 while he dealt with what the Brewers called “personal issues.” Originally signed by the Orioles for $1.525 million to pass up a Georgia commitment, the lefty swinger has had trouble staying healthy and has been a disappointment with the bat when he’s on the field. Since this suspension effectively ends his season, he’ll finish 2014 at .262/.300/.404. He’s still just 21, but has played in only 214 games in three pro seasons, with a .245/.340/.414 career slash line.

JULY 17

• Free agent 2B Ryan Adams
Suspension Length: 100 games (second positive test)
Violating Substance: Amphetamines
Adams, now 27, was drafted by the Orioles in the second round (58th overall) out of high school in Louisiana. He rose as high as the No. 8 prospect in the organization after the 2010 season and reached the majors for 29 games in 2011, hitting .289. But he was hit with a drug suspension following the 2012 season and became a free agent. He did not play in 2013 and signed as a free agent with the Dodgers in January. He played 45 games this season, all but one at Double-A Chattanooga, before being released last week. His suspension will take effect upon signing with his next organization.

JULY 7

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• Athletics OF Boog Powell
Suspension Length: 50 games (first positive test)
Violating Substance: Amphetamines
A 20th-round pick out of Orange Coast (Calif.) CC, Herschel Mack “Boog” Powell made our All-Surprise Minor League Team after he led the Midwest League with .452 on-base percentage in the first half.

“He just plays a good all-around game,” farm director Keith Lieppman told BA correspondent Casey Tefertiller. “He has consistent at-bats, occasional power and takes his walks. He’s a really good bunter. He can bunt when guys are standing right in front of him.” He is also a top-flight defensive center fielder with a solid arm. He says he has always been called “Boog,” since his childhood, after the former Orioles star. The suspension effectively ends his season.


JULY 3

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• Yankees RHP Alfredo Aceves
Suspension Length: 50 games (second positive test)
Violating Substance: Drug of abuse
Aceves, who was 1-2, 6.52 ERA in 19 1/3 innings with the major league team, was 0-1, 3.49 in seven appearances (five starts) at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Now 31, Aceves is three years removed from his last effective big league stint, when he was 10-2, 2.61 for the Red Sox in 2011. Since then, he’s been suspended by the Red Sox in 2012 for an alleged argument with then-manager Bobby Valentine, reportedly argued with Dustin Pedroia in the dugout that same year and was outrighted off the roster by the Red Sox in July 2013. He hooked on with the Orioles for spring training but was released and returned to the Yankees, where he had his most sustained success (14-1 record and 3.21 ERA from 2008-10).


JUNE 27

• Free agent RHP Joel Pineiro
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: Heptaminol

Pineiro, 35, has pitched in the majors for the Mariners, Red Sox, Cardinals and Angels. This season with the Cubs at Double-A Tennessee and the Angels at Triple-A Salt Lake, Pineiro was 1-3 with a 5.93 ERA in 44 innings. He was released Monday by the Angels before MLB announced the suspension for a positive test of heptaminol, which is used to treat low blood pressure.


JUNE 27

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• Mariners OF Jabari Blash and Jamal Austin
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: drug of abuse (second positive test)
Blash, an eight-round pick from Miami Dade junior college in 2010, was slashing .210/.312/.481 at Triple-A Tacoma following a breakout 2013. He’s raw but extremely athletic and has the kind of tools scouts dream on with a plus arm and power.
Blash, who’ll be 25 on July 4 and profiles as a right fielder, is not on Seattle’s 40-man roster.
Austin, 23, was a 13th-round pick out of Alabama-Birmingham in 2011. He’s just 5-foot-9 but physical at 170 pounds, is a plus runner and basestealer, and he makes consistent contact. He’s slashing .262/.305/.340 at Double-A Jackson.


JUNE 24

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• White Sox OF Adam Heisler
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: amphetamines
The smallish outfielder (5-foot-10, 165 pounds) signed in 2011 as a nondrafted free agent out of South Alabama. (Drafted in 2006 out of high school and in 2009 out of USA, he didn’t sign either time.) Now 26, Heisler hit .283/.347/.434 in 33 games at high Class A Winston-Salem this season.

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Athletics 2B/SS Tyler Ladendorf
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: drug of abuse (second positive test)
A second-round pick of the Twins in 2008, Ladendorf moved to the Athletics at the 2009 trade deadline in a deal involving Orlando Cabrera. He offers gap power and defensive versatility, having played second base and shortstop equally as often at Triple-A Sacramento this season. The 26-year-old hit .305/.387/.429 in 68 games this season, collecting 22 extra-base hits and drawing 32 walks.


JUNE 16

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• Red Sox LHP Miguel Pena
Suspension Length: 100 games
Violating Substance: drug of abuse (third positive test)

The projectable and athletic lefthander made 13 starts this season at Double-A Portland, going 2-2, 6.41. He rose as high as No. 30 in Boston’s organization after the 2012 season, but the past two seasons has seen his strikeout-walk ratio erode to less than 2-1 while his walk rate rose to 3.73 from 1.88 in 2012. The suspension effectively ends Pena’s season and according to BA correspondent Alex Speier, could end Pena’s Red Sox career.


JUNE 13

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• Orioles RHP Eddie Gamboa
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: exogenous Testosterone (first positive test)
Gamboa, who signed for $1,000 as a fifth-year senior out of UC Davis in 2008, has made the transition to knuckleballer, thanks to the tutelage of Hall of Famer Phil Niekro. He was particularly effective in Double-A in 2013, throwing a no-hitter. This season, he’s 4-5, 4.06, striking out nearly a batter per nine and with a strikeout-walk ratio of 3.24/1.


MAY 23

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• Braves 2B Mikey Reynolds
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: Methylphenidate (first positive test)
Reynolds, 23, was drafted twice before signing with the Braves last season as a fifth-round pick from Texas A&M. He planned to sign with the Yankees in 2012 as a 20th-round pick, but a physical revealed a stress fracture in his right elbow and resulted in a lower bonus offer, so he returned to school. After a solid first season at Rookie-level Danville (.309/.402/.416), Reynolds has struggled through 18 games at low Class-A Rome (12-for-64). Reynolds focuses on making contact and doesn’t offer much in the way of power. He has excellent instincts on the bases. He was not among the Braves’ top 30 prospects this season.


MAY 13

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• Padres C Rodney Daal
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: drug of abuse (second positive test)
Signed as international free agent by the Padres on Aug. 16, 2010, the 20-year-old Daal, who is from the Netherlands, has not played this season after slashing .271/.317/.424 at low Class A Fort Wayne in 2013.

• Free agent RHP Nick Fleece
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: drug of abuse (second positive test)

The 25-year-old Fleece, a 13th-round draft pick in 2011 from Texas A&M, was released by Cincinnati earlier this month.


MAY 6

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• Rays RHP Steve Geltz
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: drug of abuse (second positive test)
Geltz, 26, is 2-2, 3.86 with 19 strikeouts in 16.1 IP this season in Triple-A Durham. Signed by the Angels as a nondrafted free agent in 2008 from SUNY Buffalo, Geltz made his major league debut in 2012 and became the first Buffalo player in the big leagues since Joe Hesketh wrapped up an 11-year career in 1994. Geltz has a middle-relief ceiling, but attacks hitters with a 91-94 fastball. He was traded to the Rays for Dane De la Rosa in March 2013.


MAY 1

• Free agent RHP Manuel Montilla
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: metabolites of Stanozolol (first positive test)
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Montilla was in the Rockies organization for five seasons, mostly spent in the Dominican Summer League until he reached the States in 2013 at Rookie-level Grand Junction. He is 11-12, 4.00 in his minor league career, largely as a reliever.


• Free agent RHP Euris Quezada
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: metabolites of Stanozolol (first positive test)
The 6-6, 210-pound Quezada had been with the Astros since 2009 before his release in March. His highest ascension was low Class A Lexington in 2013. Overall, he was 9-18, 5.52 with half his appearances as a starter.

APRIL 26

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• Twins INF Jonatan Hinojosa
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: metabolites of Nandrolone (first positive test)
The Twins signed Hinojosa—also known as Jonatan Ynojoso—as a non-drafted free agent in 2009. He’s 21, and has played one game this season at low Class A Cedar Rapids of the Midwest League. He played previously for Minnesota’s Dominican and Gulf Coast League teams.


APRIL 17

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• Mariners 1B Ji-Man Choi
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: methandienone (first positive test)

Choi, the Mariners’ No. 25 prospect, was a Futures Game pick in 2013 after a breakout season. Read more here.


APRIL 10

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• Rangers LHP Martire Garcia
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: Clomiphene (first positive test)
Garcia, 24, originally signed with the Twins in 2007 and spent five years in the Minnesota system before being released. He returned to the minors with the Rangers at Double-A Frisco and had pitched four innings with six strikeouts, one hit allowed and two walks.


MARCH 28

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• White Sox RHP Feny Arias
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: metabolites of stanozolol (first positive test)
Arias, 22, is 9-8, 2.81 in three seasons on the White Sox’s Dominican League team with nearly a strikeout per inning.


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• Diamondbacks RHP Geremia Espinosa
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: metabolites of stanozolol (first positive test)
Espinosa, a 17-year-old from the Dominican Republic, has not pitched in the minors yet.


• Free agent RHP Elou Jean
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: metabolites of stanozolol (first positive test)
Jean, a 21-year-old from Haiti, was 0-3, 6.75 in 20 relief appearances for the Dodgers’ Dominican team. He is a free agent.


MARCH 19

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• Angels RHP Luis Pena
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: metabolites of boldenone (first positive test)
Pena, 18, signed in October and is on the roster of the Angels’ Dominican Summer League team.


FEB. 26

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• Giants 2B Ryan Jones
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: Amphetamines (first positive test)
Jones was a 13th-round pick out of Michigan State in 2012. The 5-10, 175-pounder hit .336/.429/.420 in his second season at short-season Salem-Keizer of the Northwest League. Coming out of college, scouts profiled him as a player who makes consistent contact from the right side of the plate and provides gap power. He’s a surehanded defender but lacks the arm strength to play much on the left side of the infield, which restricts his usefulness as a utilityman.


FEB. 22

• Free agent 1B Rhyne Hughes
Suspension Length: 100 games
Violating Substance: Exogenous testosterone (second positive test)
Hughes, a 30-year-old who played 53 games for the Mets Double-A affiliate in 2013, previously received a 50-game suspension in 2011 after testing positive for an amphetamine. Hughes, who reached the majors for 14 games with Baltimore in 2010, hit .278/.364/.463 for Binghamton in 2013. His suspension will be effective upon signing with a new team.
He was an eighth-round pick of the Rays in 2004 out of Pearl River (Miss.) CC.


FEB. 20

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• Red Sox LHP Francisco Tena
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: Metabolites of Stanozolol (first positive test)
The Red Sox signed Tena for $7,500 in December. He is currently on the roster of the club’s Dominican League team.


FEB. 14

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• Braves C Orinn Sears
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: Metabolites of methandienone (first positive test)
Sears, who’ll be 23 next month, was a 24th-round pick last June from Arizona Christian after attending Linn-Benton (Ore.) CC and Lamar (Colo.) CC. He hit .247/.303/.420 in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in his first pro action in 2013. He was an all-state player in football and baseball in high school in New Mexico.


FEB. 12

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• Tigers C Ronny Paulino
Suspension Length: 100 games
Violating Substance: Exogenous Testosterone (second positive test)

Paulino, 32, has played eight seasons in the major leagues with the Pirates, Marlins, Mets and Orioles with a .272/.324/.376 slash line, but has not played in the bigs since 2012. He is slated to begin the season with Triple-A Toledo following his suspension.

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• Mariners OF Cavan Cohoes
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substances: Metabolites of stanozolol and a substance related to the anabolic androgenic steroid Stenbolone (Methylstenbolone) (first positive test)

The first player ever drafted out of Germany, Cohoes, 20, was Seattle’s ninth-round pick in 2011 and signed for $650,000. Since then, however, he’s played sparingly, getting just 87 at-bats in 2013 in the Rookie-level Arizona League and Double-A. He has limited baseball experience, but, when healthy, shows intriguing tools and raw potential. The Mariners were taking it slowly with him.


JAN. 31

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• Marlins RHP Ronny Fermin
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: Metabolites of stanozolol (first positive test)
Fermin, 19, who just signed with the Marlins in November, was slated to make his debut in the States in 2014. He’ll miss the first 50 games.


JAN. 29

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• Phillies LHP Christopher O’Hare
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: Drug of abuse (second positive test)

O’Hare, a 23rd-round pick from Fisher College last June, was 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA in five innings over five relief appearances in the GCL, low Class A Lakewood and high A Clearwater.


JAN. 22

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• Cardinals RHP Andrew Pierce
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: Amphetamine (first positive test)

Pierce, 22, was St. Louis’ eighth-round pick in 2013 and went 2-2, 2.11 in 12 appearances after earning all-Conference USA honors in 2012 at Southern Miss. The wispy 6-foot-4, 160-pounder lacks projection but has a good feel for his fastball.


JAN. 16

3ds_diamondbacks21• Diamondbacks 2B Antonio Alvarez
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: Exogenous Testosterone (first positive test)

A 22nd-round pick of the Diamondbacks last June from Elon, Alvarez hit .222/.391/.250 in 35 games for Rookie-level Missoula of the Pioneer League. He does not rank among Arizona’s top 30 prospects for 2014.

• Free agent RHP Daryl Thompson
Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: Drug of abuse (second positive test)

Thompson, 28, was drafted by the Expos in the eighth round of the 2003 draft from La Plata High in Maryland. His peak ranking was No. 7 in the Nationals system following the 2004 season. In his most recent ranking following the 2010 season, Thompson was described as throwing a 92-94 mph fastball, a usable, slow curveball and an average changeup. He was signed by the Mets from the Blue Crabs of the independent Atlantic League last August and pitched the remainder of the 2013 season at Triple-A Las Vegas, going 2-0, 3.97. He is a free agent.


JAN. 14

3ds_brewers77• Brewers LHP Will West
Suspension Length: 100 games
Violating Substance: Amphetamine (first positive test) plus drug of abuse (third positive test)

Already slated to begin the 2014 season on the restricted list as he finishes a 50-game suspension levied on Aug. 5, 2013, West now tacks another 100 games on to that penalty, which if the Brewers don’t release him would take him to the final weeks of the season. He tested positive for both a performance-enhancer (amphetamine) and a recreational drug, making for the rare Joint Drug Agreement double play. A nondrafted free agent signed in 2011, West made three appearances in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2013.


JAN. 9

• Free agent RHP Yonquelys Martinez

Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: Metabolites of stanozolol (first positive test)

Martinez signed with the Astros in 2011 for $20,000, but Houston released him on Jan. 6 following news of his suspension. He made 19 relief appearances in the Dominican Summer League in 2013, logging 23 strikeouts, eight walks and a 1.74 ERA in 31 innings.

• Free agent OF D.J. Driggers

Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: Drug of abuse (second positive test)

The Tigers released Driggers on Jan. 8, following his suspension. The 2012 22nd-round pick played in just five games in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2013. He also was suspended 50 games in August 2012.


JAN. 4

• Twins 2B Eddie Rosario

3ds_twins77Suspension Length: 50 games
Violating Substance: Drug of abuse (second positive test)

Rosario hit .302/.350/.460 in high Class A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain in 2013. His suspension will take effect at the beginning of the 2014 season. The Twins selected Rosario in the fourth round of the 2010 draft from Guayama High in Puerto Rico. He was the No. 8 prospect in the system entering the 2013 season.


JAN. 2

• Angels C Carlos Ramirez

3ds_angels85Suspension Length: 100 games
Violating Substance: Drug of abuse (third positive test)

Ramirez hit .206/.301/.400 with six homers in 48 games at Double-A Arkansas in 2013. His suspension will take effect at the beginning of the 2014 season. The Angels selected Ramirez from Arizona State in the eighth round of the 2009 draft, and he ranked among their top 30 prospects in 2010 and 2011.