Major League Baseball announced the suspension of three minor league pitchers for PED use Monday.
The most notable name is Steve Delabar, who has by far the most Major League experience of the trio. Delabar was an All-Star with Toronto in 2013, pitching to a 3.22 ERA in 58 2/3 innings with 82 strikeouts.
His control problems worsened, however, culminating in 10 walks over just eight innings last year with Cincinnati. Delabar is in the Indians’ minor league system but had yet to pitch this year.
Once out of baseball completely following a fractured pitching elbow in 2009, Delabar was an inspiring comeback story when he found his way back into baseball after being completely out of the game. He had been taking classes and was a substitute teacher before a tryout with the Mariners in 2011 got him back in the Majors.
However, the 33-year-old right-hander will now serve an 80-game suspension after testing positive for Ostarine, a “selective androgen receptor modulator” that is used to treat muscle wasting and osteoporosis. Delabar said in a statement that the positive test was an honest mistake and not a deliberate attempt to cheat.
“This spring I received a positive test for a banned substance from a contaminated non-certified over-the-counter dietary supplement. Although the traces present were extremely low, the rules are the rules. I understand the consequences of my irresponsible actions and take full responsibility to serve my suspension. I apologize to the Indians organization and all of those whom I have let down. I ask for forgiveness as I’m going to put this behind me and move on. I’ve been in this game for nearly 13 years and have never tried to gain a competitive edge thought supplementation. Hopefully players around the league will not make the same mistake by thinking they are in the clear when it comes to non-certified supplements.”
Jonathan Aro, who is with the Seattle Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers, received a 50-game suspension. Aro, 26, received cups of coffee with Boston and Seattle in 2015 and 2016, respectively, allowing eight runs 11 innings. MLB did not specify what Aro’s violation was in their announcement.
Jeffry Fernandez, who is currently a free agent, also received an 80-game suspension. The 24-year-old has never reached the majors. Fernandez tested positive for Stanozolol, a synthetic anabolic steroid, and his suspension will become effectively immediately upon signing with a Major League organization.
The trio of suspensions brings the total number of Minor League drug program violations this year to 29 players, and the announcement comes less than a week after Pirates All-Star outfielder Starling Marte was suspended 80 games for a positive PED test.