Cubs Minor Leaguers Assael Aquino and Luiz Escanio and fellow Dominican Summer Leaguer Daulin Ramirez of the Twins were handed 72-game suspensions Thursday after testing positive for a banned steroid.
The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball said all three Rookie-level DSL pitchers received 72-game suspensions without pay after testing positive for Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
The suspensions are effective immediately.
Aquino, 22, has appeared in two games for the DSL Cubs, allowing two runs while striking out six over three innings. Last year he finished 1-1 with a 2.11 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings with the DSL Cubs, his first season in the Minors.
Escanio, 22, has struck out five batters in 3 1/3 innings over four relief outings this year with the DSL Cubs, going 2-for-2 in save opportunities. He's 1-3 with a 3.62 ERA and 68 strikeouts over 54 2/3 innings since signing with the Cubs in 2013. All 37 of the 6-foot-5 right-hander's career appearances have come out of the bullpen in the DSL.
Ramirez, 20, is 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA in nine innings over four relief appearances this season with the DSL Twins. He went 4-3 with a 5.84 ERA in 22 games last year after originally debuting as a third baseman with the DSL Rays in 2013, when he hit .085 (10-for-117) with a homer and five RBIs in 39 games.
Stanozolol is a synthetic anabolic steroid derived from testosterone that is sometimes prescribed by veterinarians to encourage muscle growth, red blood cell production, bone density and to stimulate the appetite of weakened animals. Three others players have received suspensions this year after testing positive for the substance, most recently on June 16.
Major League Baseball has suspended 61 players this year for violating the Minor League drug program.