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Padres' first-rounder Tate suspended

No. 3 pick in '09 banned 50 games after second positive test
June 28, 2011
NEW YORK -- Donavan Tate, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2009 Draft and one of the Padres' top prospects, was suspended for 50 games on Tuesday after a second positive drug test.

Tate, 20, received the suspension from Major League Baseball after testing positive for a drug of abuse. He was already in substance abuse counseling stemming from a first positive test earlier this year and has been credited 25 games from his time served in the rehab program.

Players who test positive for a drug of abuse -- marijuana, cocaine, opiates, etc. -- are typically not suspended until a second positive test under the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The Commissioner's Office said the 25 games that remain on Tate's suspension will be served immediately.

Tate, an outfielder from Cartersville, Ga., is perhaps the highest profile Minor Leaguer to be suspended under the program in recent years. He was drafted third overall by San Diego in 2009, moments after Washington's Stephen Strasburg and Seattle's Dustin Ackley, both of whom have reached the Majors.

Tate, though, has followed a different path -- he was at Class A Short-Season Eugene since June 17 after appearing in six games with Class A Fort Wayne. He hit .222 in 25 games with the Padres' Rookie-level Arizona League affiliate last summer, where he hit both of his two career home runs.

The 6-foot-3 outfielder, who went a career-best 5-for-6 on June 26, is hitting a combined .294 with seven RBIs and seven steals this year.

"He's a great player and an even a better teammate," Eugene teammate Cory Spangenberg said on Sunday night. Spangenberg was the No. 10 overall pick in the 2011 Draft. "One of the best teammates I have ever had."

Tate is the 33rd Minor Leaguer to be suspended under the Minor League drug program in 2011 and the first Padres farmhand since Ruben Mejia was banned 50 games on March 18.

Danny Wild is an editor for