August 28, 2012
Blue Jays prospect banned 50 games
By KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency
NEW YORK - Toronto Blue Jays minor league pitcher Marcus Stroman, the team’s first-round draft pick in this year’s draft, has been suspended for 50 games for a violation of Major League Baseball’s minor league drug prevention and treatment program.
While he was playing for the class-A Vancouver Canadians, Stroman tested positive for methylheaneamine, a stimulant that is on the banned list of drugs.
“Despite taking precautions to avoid violating the minor league testing program, I unknowingly ingested a banned stimulant that was in an over-the-counter supplement,” Stroman said in a statement released by the Blue Jays.
“Nonetheless, I accept full responsibility and I want to apologize to the Toronto Blue Jays organization, my family, my teammates, and the Blue Jays fans everywhere. I look forward to putting this behind me and rejoining my teammates.”
The Blue Jays selected Stroman out of Duke University, with the 22nd pick in the first round of the draft and signed him to a $1.8-million bonus. He started his season with Vancouver but had moved up to double-A New Hampshire and was on a fast track to the big leagues.
At the time of the draft Stroman was predicted by scouts to be the most likely player in the draft to reach the big leagues this year.
He will start his suspension immediately and it will extend into the start of next year’s minor league season. He will be allowed to go to spring training but not allowed to play in any exhibition games until his full suspension is served.
“This suspension is unfortunate and we are disappointed by this development,” said Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos. “The Toronto Blue Jays, however, fully endorse the Major League Baseball’s drug testing policy and support the discipline taken today.”
Assistant general manager Tony LaCava, whose primary responsibility is the minor league system, said players are schooled with regard to what substances are legal and which aren’t during spring training each year. As a recent draft, Stroman would not have had that opportunity yet.
“In spring training we have Baseball 101s, as we call them, where we educate the players on a number of things and that’s one that we do,” said LaCava. “There are so many different things out there now, players just have to be careful of what they ingest and in this case Marcus made a mistake.
“The burden is on the player. To his credit, he’s standing up to it. He acknowledges that it was his responsibility, he made a mistake, and he’s accountable for that. The 50 games is the price he’s going to have to pay.”