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A number of minor league players and one former Major Leaguer have been suspended for a substantial amount of games after violating MLB’s drug policy.
According to a report from ESPN, pitcher Ivan Gonzalez from the Toronto Blue Jays Dominican Summer League team, was suspended for 60 games without pay for testing positive for a “performance-enhancing substance.”
One player in the Mets organization, outfielder Karell Paz on the Florida Complex League team also received a 60 game suspension for testing positive for stanozolol.
Tigers organization pitcher Elvin Valerio also tested positive for the same drug as well another banned substance.
Kanoa Pagan, a pitcher for the San Francisco Arizona Complex League team, was handed a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a “stimulant.”
The biggest name to receive a punishment was major league veteran Derek Dietrich, who’s played parts of eight seasons in the majors.
Dietrich spent most of his career in MLB with the Miami Marlins, before moving to Cincinnati to join the Reds and finally playing in 25 games for the Texas Rangers in 2020. He’s racked up 84 career home runs and 108 wRC+ during his time in the bigs.
Dietrich is now in the New York Yankees system, with their Triple-A affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
According to the report, thirty-three minor leaguers have been suspended this year alone under the minor league drug program.
It’s surprising that there have been so many suspensions across the minor leagues. While MLB turned a blind eye for many years to performance enhancing substances, that’s demonstrably no longer the case.
The league has substantial penalties and rigorous testing regimes, and losing out on pay for a significant amount of games doesn’t feel worth the potential benefits.
That said, baseball has a long history of cheating which apparently lives on even today.