Puello, others suspended 50 games

Major, Minor Leaguers accept bans for links to Biogenesis

Cesar Puello has hit 16 of his 37 career professional homers this season. (Kevin Pataky/MiLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | August 5, 2013 11:23 AM

Major League Baseball announced suspensions for 13 players linked to the Biogenesis investigation on Monday, six of whom have ties to the Minors.

That list of Minor Leaguers is made up of Cesar Puello, Jordany Valdespin, Jesus Montero, Fernando Martinez, Fautino De Los Santos and Jordan Norberto. The Major Leaguers on the list are Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Francisco Cervelli, Antonio Bastardo and Sergio Escalona. Each of those 12 aforementioned players have accepted 50-game suspensions.

Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, who recently finished a rehab stint with Double-A Trenton, was suspended until the completion of the 2014 season but is expected to file a grievance against the decision and is eligible to play until the completion of that appeal.

Puello is considered the biggest name from a prospect standpoint.

After starting the year ranked No. 14 in the Mets farm system according to MLB.com, the 22-year-old outfielder rose to No. 4 in the midst of a strong campaign with Double-A Binghamton. He ranked second in the Eastern League in average (.328) and OPS (.955) and had set career highs with 16 homers and 73 RBIs through 90 games for the B-Mets. Puello, who has not appeared in a game since last Thursday, is listed on the Mets' 40-man roster.

Valdespin and Montero, on the other hand, had returned to the Minors this season following lackluster campaigns in the Majors.

Valdespin, whose name had not been linked to the Biogenesis scandal before Monday, owned a .466/.537/.759 slash line with three homers and 24 RBIs in 16 games for the Mets' Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas after putting up disappointing .188/.250/.316/4/16 numbers in 66 games in the Majors. He returned to the 51s lineup Sunday after serving a three-game suspension for causing a brawl last Monday after showboating in celebration of a home run.

Montero -- a former Yankees top prospect who was traded to Seattle in the deal that sent Michael Pineda to the Bronx -- had a .247/.317/.425 line in 19 games with Tacoma. The 23-year-old catcher was optioned to the PCL in late May after struggling (.208/.264/.327) at the plate in 29 games to start the year. Shortly after joining the Rainiers, he missed more than a month with a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Martinez -- another former big-time prospect with the Mets -- started the year with the Astros before being shipped to the Yankees in June. He was batting .325 with a .928 OPS, four homers and 18 RBIs in 22 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre but has been on the disabled list since July 17. He was 6-for-33 over 11 games with the Astros prior to the trade.

De Los Santos and Norberto had both made short stints with Triple-A Tucson and Sacramento, respectively. The former was designated for assignment by the Padres in May but has not played since April 6.

Norberto was released by the A's in May. His 50-game suspension will begin immediately upon signing with another Major League organization.

Sam Dykstra is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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