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Top picks Sale, Stroman suspended

Royals' 26th-rounder Donato among trio banned 50 games
August 28, 2012
First-round picks Josh Sale and Marcus Stroman were among a trio of Minor Leaguers suspended on Tuesday after testing positive for banned substances.

Sale, Stroman and Royals prospect Mark Donato, a 26th-round pick in June, were suspended 50 games apiece for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, the Commissioner's Office announced.

Sale, selected 17th overall by the Rays in 2010, tested positive for Methamphetamine and an amphetamine, while Stroman, who signed with the Blue Jays for $1.8 million as the No. 22 overall pick this year, was suspended for using methylhexaneamine, a stimulant.

"Despite taking precautions to avoid violating the Minor League testing program, I unknowingly ingested a banned stimulant that was in an over-the-counter supplement," Stroman said in a statement released by the Blue Jays. "Nonetheless, I accept full responsibility and I want to apologize to the Toronto Blue Jays organization, my family, my teammates and the Blue Jays fans everywhere. I look forward to putting this behind me and rejoining my teammates."

Methylhexaneamine is a substance intended to be used as a nasal decongestant but is banned by Major League Baseball -- eight players have been suspended this season after testing positive for it. It's believed to increase focus and energy, but side effects include nausea and stroke. The drug has been linked to some Minor Leaguers over the past two years since it's an ingredient in the pre-workout supplement Jack3d.

Stroman, a right-hander out of Duke, was 3-0 with a 3.26 ERA in 15 outings this year between short-season Vancouver and Double-A New Hampshire. In 2010, Vancouver's Zach Hurley became one of the first Minor Leaguers to test positive for the substance.

"This suspension is unfortunate and we are disappointed by this development," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "The Toronto Blue Jays, however, fully endorse Major League Baseball's drug testing policy and support the discipline taken today."

Sale, a left-handed-hitting outfielder, was batting .264 with 10 homers, 44 RBIs, seven stolen bases and a .391 on-base percentage in 74 games with Class A Bowling Green. He debuted last year with Rookie-level Princeton, where he hit .210 in 60 games.

Donato, a 20-year-old first baseman drafted out of Indian River State College, was hitting .253 with three homers and 27 RBIs in 38 games for the Rookie-level Arizona League Royals.

Major League Baseball has suspended 84 players this year for violating the Minor League drug program.

Danny Wild is an editor for