Since Friday of last week, MLB has suspended a total of six minor league players over three clubs (Pirates, Cardinals, and Angels) for performance-enhancing drugs, as part of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. All six players were given 50 game suspensions.
On Friday, Pittsburgh Pirates Minor League players Roman Carrasco and Luis Figuera, both of whom are pitchers for the organization’s Venezuela Summer League team, were given suspensions. Carrasco tested positive for a metabolite of Nandrolone. Figuera tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol.
Tuesday saw St. Louis Cardinals Minor League players Braulin Beltre, Andres Beras and Yedilson Pena, all of whom are members of the organization’s Dominican Summer League team, get hit with their immediate suspensions. Both Beltre, a pitcher, and Beras, an outfielder, tested positive for a metabolite of Boldenone. Pena, a pitcher, tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol.
And, Wednesday, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Minor League pitcher Thomas Mendoza received a 50-game suspension for testing positive for an amphetamine. Mendoza is currently with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga of the California League.
The flurry of minor league suspensions, while substantial, is possibly in part due to how testing cycles land. Shortly after the All-Star break last year, four suspensions were doled out over the course of just over two weeks (7/11/07 - Sergio Garcia, Dodgers, 100 games - 7/24/07 - Angel Salome, Brewers, 50 games - 7/27/07 - Thomas A. King, Giants, 50 games - 7/28/07 - Donnie Sadler, Diamondbacks, 50 games).
The largest number of suspensions given out occurred on April 4, 2005. 38 minor league players were suspended after testing positive for performance-enhancing substances. The positive results were announced after 925 tests of players on the 12 major league teams that hold spring training in Arizona and included one offseason result. Thirty-seven players tested positive for the first time and received an unpaid, 15-game suspension, and one player, David Castillo, a catcher with the Oakland A's, tested positive for the third time and was given an unpaid suspension of 60 gms.
Since mandatory drug testing was instituted, a total of 188 suspensions have been doled out across baseball for a total of 6,025 games.
The following is a summary of drug violations, based upon The Biz of Baseball's detailed Drug Violations page:
2 major leaguers
* 2 - PEDs
* Eliezer Alfonzo was part of the Giants 40-man roster, but at the time of the suspension was playing at Triple-A Fresno.
* Cota was penalized under the major league drug program, even though he has not been on a major league roster since last June 15, when he was released by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The reason he was covered by the major league plan rather than the minor league program wasn't announced.
15 minor leaguers
9 - PEDs
2 - Amphetamines
1 - Failure to Test
1 - Human Growth Hormone
1 - Stanozolol Metabolites
1 - Drug of Abuse
8 major leaguers
5 - PEDs
3 - Stimulants (Neifi Perez twice)
29 minor leaguers
17 - PEDs
2 - Failure to Test
8 - Drug of Abuse
2 - Unknown (not identifed by MLB in release)
3 major leaguers
3 - PEDs
24 minor leaguers
3 - Drug of Abuse
6 Venezuelan Summer League
6 - PEDs
12 major leaguers
12 - PEDs
90 minor leaguers
90 - PEDs
Source: Major League Baseball. Business of Sports Network research