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Royals' Mondesi suspended 50 games

KC shortstop reportedly had ban reduced through MLBPA agreement
May 10, 2016

NEW YORK -- Top Royals prospect Raul Mondesi was suspended 50 games Tuesday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, an incident the team called "an innocent mistake."

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball said Mondesi, a 20-year-old shortstop, received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Clenbuterol. The penalty was reportedly reduced through a settlement with the MLB Players Association.

According to MLB Network's Joel Sherman, Mondesi was originally handed an 80-game suspension but the punishment was dropped to 50 games in an agreement between the Commissioner's Office and the MLBPA. Sherman said Mondesi showed MLB that Clenbuterol is a "substance in cold medicine."

It's unclear if Mondesi ever ingested any cold medicine, but regardless, the suspension is effective immediately. Since Mondesi is on Kansas City's 40-man roster, the suspension is considered a violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program despite the infielder currently playing in the Minors at Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

The Royals released a statement on Tuesday in support of their prized shortstop.

"This is an unfortunate incident that we believe to be an innocent mistake, but these are the consequences that players face when they do not adhere to the policies that have been collectively bargained," said Dayton Moore, the Royals' senior vice president and general manager.

"We have a protocol in place with our medical team should a player ever have questions about what they may be taking, even if an over-the-counter medication," Moore said. "In this particular case, the protocol was not followed and the consequences are such. We remain supportive of Raul Mondesi Jr."

Mondesi is still eligible to play in the Major League postseason once he serves his suspension.

Mondesi, the son of former Major Leaguer Raul Mondesi, memorably made his Major League debut last October in Game 3 of the World Series, becoming the first player in Major League history to debut during the Fall Classic. He's currently ranked by as the No. 33 overall prospect in baseball.

Clenbuterol has been used as a decongestant for people with chronic breathing disorders like asthma, although it's considered a performance-enhancer by Major League Baseball and the International Olympic Committee -- former reliever Guillermo Mota was suspended for 50 games for using Clenbuterol in 2006 and then suspended another 100 games for using the substance in 2012.

Mondesi is hitting .250 with five homers, 15 RBIs, 11 steals and a .304 on-base percentage in 104 at-bats in 25 Texas League games this season. The switch-hitter hit .243 with six home runs and 33 RBIs in 81 games last year as a Texas League and Futures Game All-Star.

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