Free agent right-hander Francisco Antonio Almonte was suspended 72 games Friday after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.
The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball said Almonte tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Almonte, who will turn 19 on Monday, appeared in 10 games -- two of them starts -- for the Astros Orange team in the Dominican Summer League before being released on Aug. 12. He went 3-1 with a 5.06 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 32 innings.
The suspension of Almonte is effective immediately upon his signing with a Major League organization.
Stanozolol is a synthetic anabolic steroid derived from testosterone that is sometimes prescribed by veterinarians to encourage muscle growth, red blood cell production, bone density and to stimulate the appetite of weakened animals.
Almonte is the 44th player to be suspended this year for violating the Minor League drug program.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.