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Mariners' Blash, Austin suspended 50 games

Seattle pair banned by Commissioner's Office for drugs of abuse
June 27, 2014

Mariners No. 18 prospect Jabari Blash and fellow Seattle outfielder Jamal Austin were each suspended for 50 games on Friday after testing positive for banned drugs.

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball said the pair had each received 50-game suspensions without pay following second positive tests for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspensions of both players are effective immediately.

Blash, 24, is tied for seventh in the Minors with 17 home runs and 12th with 57 RBIs this season between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma. The outfielder, the Mariners' eighth-round pick in 2010, is currently with the Rainiers, where he's hitting .219 with a dozen homers, 37 RBIs and a .312 on-base percentage in 45 games since moving up from the Southern League. An Mariners Organization All-Star in 2013, the former Miami-Dade College slugger is batting .228 with six steals overall in his fifth season. 

Austin, 23, is hitting .262 with a homer, 16 RBIs, 19 steals and a .305 OBP in 63 games for Jackson. Seattle's 13th-round pick in 2011 was a Midwest League All-Star in 2012 and posted some of his best stats in 2013, when he hit .288 with 58 RBIs and 40 steals in 126 games for Class A Advanced High Desert.

The suspensions mark the second time in three days that the Commissioner's Office has handed out discipline for drugs of abuse -- Athletics Minor League third baseman Tyler Ladendorf and White Sox outfielder Adam Heisler were each suspended for 50 games on June 25 for the same violation.

Players are typically issued a warning following a first positive test for a drug of abuse and a 50-game suspension for a second offense. A third violation carries a 100-game ban. Substances considered "drugs of abuse" by Major League Baseball include cocaine, marijuana, heroin, LSD, ecstasy and other opiates. Minor Leaguers who test positive for a performance-enhancing substance are subjected to an immediate 50-game suspension.

Major League Baseball has now suspended 33 players for violating the Minor League drug program in 2014.

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