UPDATE: Less than an hour after publishing this article, two more players were announced as suspended. New York Mets Minor League pitchers Leandro Geremy and Jose Valentin have received 50-game suspensions after each tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Both are with the Mets' Dominican Summer League team. I have updated the figures to reflect these two latest additions. - Maury Brown.
A week ago tomorrow, I reported (Minor Leaguers Being Suspended for PEDs at Record Clip) how minor league players out of the Dominican Summer League were suddenly being suspended for PEDs at a rate not seen since the initial suspensions were doled out in bulk on April 4, 2005 (see Drug Violations page for details).
Since then, five more players have been suspended (see update above for two more added in since this article was originally published).
On Monday, Tampa Bay Rays Minor League players Cesar Guillen and Victor Henriquez received 50-game suspensions after testing positive for performance-enhancing substances. Guillen, an outfielder, tested positive for Ephedrine. Henriquez, an infielder, tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol. Both were (you guessed it) currently with Tampa Bay’s Dominican Summer League team.
Yesterday, Boston Red Sox Minor League pitcher Victor De La Cruz received a 50-game suspension for testing positive for Stanozolol. Where was he when he tested positive? Boston’s Dominican Summer League team.
Since July 25th, 17 players have been suspended as part of MLB’s Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. All told, it comes to 850 games being served under suspensions, a staggering figure in such a short period.
Every one of the players, with Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Minor League pitcher Thomas Mendoza the exception (he is currently with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga of the California League), have been playing in the Dominican Summer League.
It begs the question; is there something going on?
To that end, I contacted Rich Levin, spokesman for the Commissioner’s Office. I asked whether there might be that a review process had ended, thus rolling the release of the suspensions into a short window. The answer was no. The answer, it seems, may be more random, from MLB’s perspective.
“The percentage of players testing positive in the Dominican Republic, so far this summer, has decreased from last year,” said Levin. When asked why the sudden spike in analytical positives, Levin replied, “It is just a matter of timing. Sometimes, they come in bunches.”
But, if they “sometimes come in bunches" the question is, why? Could there be a communication issue between players in Latin America? Could it be that a single source – a Kurt Radmonski-type – is in and around the Dominican Summer League? Hard saying.
One could surely speculate that MLB is looking closely at the matter. No one in the mainstream media has picked up on this story, but if the rate continues through the end of the season, one would hope others would report on this story.