Blue Jays catcher Sean Ochinko, Mets lefty Chase Huchingson and Angels outfielder Brandon Bayardi were each handed 50-game suspensions on Monday after testing positive for banned substances.
Ochinko tested positive for an Amphetamine while Huchingson tested positive for a drug of abuse and Bayardi was flagged for using Methylhexaneamine, all violations of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball said the suspensions of all three players are effective immediately.
Ochinko, 25, was batting .231 with five homers, 37 RBIs and a .311 on-base percentage in 91 games between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo this season. Toronto's 11th-round pick out of Louisiana State in 2009 was a New York-Penn League All-Star that summer and an MiLB.com Organization All-Star in 2010 after hitting .311 with 65 RBIs for Class A Lansing. He set career highs in 2011 with Class A Advanced Dunedin when he batted .261 with 16 homers and 79 RBIs for the Jays.
Huchingson, 24, is 3-2 with a 1.61 ERA and 68 strikeouts over 67 innings for Double-A Binghamton in the Eastern League. The left-hander out of Central Arkansas signed with the Mets as a free agent in 2010 and has earned a number All-Star accolades -- he was a South Atlantic League All-Star for Savannah in 2011, a Florida State League All-Star in 2012 with St. Lucie and an Arizona Fall League Rising Star last autumn.
Bayardi, 22, is hitting .258 with six homers and 33 RBIs in 45 games between the Arizona League Angels and the Orem Owlz, both Rookie-level affiliates of Anaheim. The 6-foot-2 outfielder was drafted by the Angels in the 36th round of this year's Draft out of UNLV, where he led the Rebels in average (.361), home runs (seven), hits (74), slugging percentage (.551), stolen bases (12) and earned All-Mountain West First Team honors earlier this summer.
Methylhexaneamine is a substance intended to be used as a nasal decongestant but is banned by Major League Baseball -- four players have been suspended this season after testing positive for it. It's believed to increase focus and energy, but side effects include nausea and stroke. The drug has been linked to some Minor Leaguers over the past four years since it's an ingredient in the pre-workout supplement Jack3d.
Players are typically issued a warning following a first positive test for a drug of abuse, followed by a suspension for a second offense. Substances considered "drugs of abuse" by Major League Baseball include cocaine, marijuana, heroin, LSD, ecstasy and other opiates.
Major League Baseball has suspended 44 players in 2013 for violations of the Minor League drug program, including seven this month.