Pirates right-hander Michael Clemens was suspended for 68 games on Monday after testing positive for HGH, a banned performance-enhancing substance.
The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball said Clemens received a 68-game suspension without pay for his possession and use of human Growth Hormone in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and will begin serving the ban immediately.
Clemens, 21, was the Pirates' 17th-round pick this summer out of McNeese State. He's appeared in 13 career games since joining the Bucs, striking out 20 batters over 18 innings for Rookie-level Bristol in the Appalachian League. The 6-foot-4 righty sports a 1.00 ERA, is 3-for-3 in save opportunities and has walked just five men, holding opponents to a .176 average.
A native of The Woodlands, Texas, Clemens split time as a starter and reliever with McNeese State, earning seven wins, six saves and 109 strikeouts in 39 appearances and 24 starts in three seasons.
Minor Leaguers were among the first in professional sports to be subject to HGH testing when Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced on July 22, 2010 that Minor League players would be subject to "random blood testing for the detection of human growth hormone" under Major League Baseball's Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. In January 2013, random unannounced blood tests for HGH and offseason testing for synthetic testosterone were added to the Major League drug program.
Under the rules of the new Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program for Rookie and Short-Season leagues, a first violation receives a discipline of 80 games or the total number of regular-season games in the league, whichever is shorter.
Major League Baseball has suspended 48 players this year for violating the Minor League drug program.