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Carson, Alexander among five suspended

Former first-round pick James handed 50-game drug suspension
January 27, 2015

Major League veteran Robert Carson, fellow Dodgers Minor Leaguer Theo Alexander and 2009 first-round pick Chad James were among five players suspended on Tuesday after testing positive for prohibited drugs.

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball said Alexander, an outfielder, and Carson, a lefty reliever, received 50-game suspensions without pay following their second positive tests for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Free agent Minor League right-handers Kramer Champlin and Kyle Simon also received 50-game suspensions without pay following a second positive test for a drug of abuse, while James was banned for 50 games after testing positive for an amphetamine.

Carson will begin serving his suspension on Opening Day, while Alexander's penalty commences at the start of the Pioneer League season. Kramer, Simon and James will all serve their suspensions once they sign contracts with a Major League team.

Carson, 26, was the Mets' 14th-round pick in 2007 and made his Major League debut in May of 2012. The 6-foot-4 lefty split the 2014 season between the Dodgers and Angels, going 3-8 with a 5.74 ERA in 47 outings for Triple-A Salt Lake, Triple-A Albuquerque, Double-A Chattanooga and Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga. He last pitched in the Majors in 2013 with New York.

Alexander, 20, was the Dodgers' seventh-round selection in 2012 and has spent each of the last three seasons with Los Angeles' Rookie-level affiliates in the Arizona and Pioneer Leagues. He's batted .233 with eight homers and 44 RBIs in 97 career games after finishing 2014 at .233 in 43 contests.

Champlin, 24, is 14-10 with a 4.01 ERA in 86 career Minor League games, including a dozen starts since being drafted by Toronto in the 33rd round out of Arizona State in 2011. The 6-foot-6 right-hander went 4-2 with a 2.31 ERA in 20 games between Rookie-level Bluefield and Class A Advanced Dunedin in 2014 before being released on Oct. 3.

Simon, 24, was the Phillies' fourth-round pick out of Arizona in 2011 and reached Triple-A in 2014, going 5-4 with a 3.93 ERA in 46 relief outings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley and Double-A Reading. The Rockies selected him in the Triple-A phase of the 2014 Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 11 but released the 6-foot-6 reliever on Jan. 16.

James, 24, was the No. 18 overall pick in the 2009 Draft by the Marlins but was released by Miami in early April after three seasons in the Minors. He signed with the independent Evansville Otters and threw a no-hitter on July 9, striking out 14, before signing as a Minor League free agent with the Texas Rangers four days later. The lefty went 4-3 with a 2.74 ERA in 42 2/3 innings over eight starts at Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach this past season but was declared a free agent on Nov. 3.

Major League Baseball has suspended 18 players in 2015 for violating the Minor League drug program.

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