Four Minor Leaguers suspended for drugs

Pittsburgh's Maldonado, Boston's Marrero each receive bans

Andy Maldonado posted a 2.14 WHIP in 31 1/3 pro innings in the Dominican Summer League. (Bill Mitchell)

By Joe Bloss / | December 20, 2019 5:15 PM

Four Minor League players were suspended Friday after violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Pirates right-hander Andy Maldonado and free-agent right-hander Daniel De Leon received 72-game suspension for testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug Stanozolol. Red Sox catcher Elih Marrero and free agent left-hander Cole Watts were handed 50-game suspensions after testing positive for the stimulant Amphetamine.

Players under contract will serve their suspensions when the 2020 season begins. Free agents' suspensions are delayed until that player signs with a team.

2019 Minor League suspensions

In his pro debut, 17-year-old Maldonado went 0-3 with an 8.62 ERA, 18 strikeouts and 37 walks in 31 1/3 innings over 12 starts for the Doninican Summer League Pirates.

Texas signed De Leon on Dec. 12, 2017. The 18-year-old went 6-2 with 42 punchouts and 40 walks in 60 1/3 frames across 29 appearances in two pro two seasons with the DSL Rangers 2.

Marrero, an eighth-round pick in 2018, hit .300/.385/.400 in his debut season. But in 2019, the 22-year-old son of former Major Leaguer Eli Merrero put together a slash line of .205/.267/.311 across Class A Short Season Lowell and Class A Advanced Salem.

Watts, originally a 31-st round pick for Houston in 2017, signed with Kansas City in June and posted a 7.71 ERA in 42 innings for Rookie Advanced Idaho. Opponents hit .324 against the 24-year-old.

A total of 51 Minor Leaguers have been suspended for drug-related violations in 2019.

Joe Bloss is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @jtbloss. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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