Sox's Blount, Cubs' Soto suspended

Chicago prospects to sit out first 50 games of 2014 season

Elliot Soto hit the first two homers of his four-year career in 2013. (Ed Gardner/

By Danny Wild / | November 1, 2013 9:15 AM ET

White Sox right-hander Nick Blount and Cubs shortstop Elliot Soto were handed 50-game suspensions on Friday after their violations of the Minor League drug program.

Blount, a 23-year-old out of Southern Polytechnic State, received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for an Amphetamine. Soto, 24, was cited for a second violation for a drug of abuse.

Both will begin serving their bans at the start of next season.

Blount went 4-4 with a 3.18 ERA in 16 games, including nine starts, over 51 innings with Rookie-level Great Falls in the Pioneer League this past season. The 6-foot-6 righty was selected in the ninth round of the 2013 Draft by Chicago a year after he was kicked off his college team at Tennessee for an undisclosed violation of team rules. He transferred to Southern Polytechnic State and went 2-4 with a 2.74 ERA with a team-leading eight saves in 20 games.

Soto was the Cubs' 15th-round pick in 2010 out of Creighton University -- he was originally selected by the Twins in the 13th round of the 2006 Draft but did not sign. A 2011 Midwest League All-Star, Soto split the 2013 season between Class A Advanced Daytona and Double-A Tennessee, hitting .219 with two homers, 24 RBIs, three stolen bases, 10 doubles and a .303 on-base percentage in 84 games.

In his career over four seasons, the Illinois native owns a .248 average with two home runs and 91 RBIs in 342 Minor League games.

With the suspensions of Soto and Blount, Major League Baseball has banned 59 Minor Leaguers in 2013 for violations of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Suspensions are down considerably from last year -- through Nov. 1, 2012, the Commissioner's Office had suspended 97 players.

Danny Wild is an editor for This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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