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Cubs' Francescon, Indians' Colon suspended

Southern League All-Star, Tribe non-roster invitee get 50-game bans
January 8, 2016

NEW YORK -- Cubs right-hander P.J. Francescon and Indians reliever Joseph Colon were suspended 50 games without pay on Friday after testing positive for banned drugs.

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced that both Francescon and Colon tested positive a second time for a drug of abuse, which is a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Both suspensions are effective at the start of the 2016 season.

Francescon, 27, went 4-2 with a 1.47 ERA in 45 games last season, mostly with Double-A Tennessee. The 2011 40th-round pick finished the year at Triple-A Iowa after earning Southern League All-Star honors for the second straight season. He ranked third in the Cubs Minor League system in appearances.

The Tennessee native joined Margarita in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA over 12 2/3 innings in 14 appearances.

Colon, 25, was 3-0 with a 3.14 ERA in 33 games last season, striking out 47 and walking 14 over 48 2/3 innings. He went 2-0 with a 3.16 ERA in 21 games for Double-A Akron before joining Triple-A Columbus on Aug. 5. With the Clippers, he was 1-0 with a 3.12 mark in a dozen outings. The Indians announced in November that they planned to bring the righty to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. He's appeared in 124 career Minor League games since he was drafted in the 12th round in 2009. 

Players are typically issued a warning following a first positive test for a drug of abuse and a suspension for a second offense. Substances considered "drugs of abuse" by Major League Baseball include cocaine, marijuana, heroin, LSD, ecstasy and other opiates. Minor Leaguers who test positive for a performance-enhancing substance are subject to an immediate 50-game suspension.

Francescon and Colon mark the first suspensions of 2016 after the Commissioner's Office handed down 108 to 106 players last year for violations of the Minor League drug program. MLB issued 60 bans in both 2014 and 2013.

Danny Wild is an editor for Follow his MLBlog column, Minoring in Twitter.