NEW YORK -- Texas League All-Star outfielder Mike Bianucci, Rangers left-hander Chad James and Mariners righty Edwin Martinez were suspended Friday for violating the Minor League drug program.
The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball said Bianucci received an 80-game suspension after testing positive for "Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide 2 (GHRP-2) and metabolite," which is considered a performance-enhancing substance. James was suspended 25 games for an undisclosed violation, while Martinez was banned 72 games for using the synthetic steroid Stanozolol.
All three suspensions are effective immediately.
Bianucci was named a Texas League All-Star earlier this week. He's hitting .278 and is tied for second in the league with 12 homers to go with 34 RBIs and a .320 on-base percentage in 58 games with Northwest Arkansas, the Royals' Double-A affiliate. Drafted by the Rangers in 2008, the 28-year-old outfielder is a .270 hitter with 143 homers and 474 RBIs in 695 Minor League games.
James was suspended for 50 games earlier this year when he tested positive for an amphetamine and has yet to pitch this season. The 24-year-old was selected 18th overall by the Marlins in the 2009 Draft but was released last April after three seasons in the Minors. He signed with the independent Evansville Otters and threw a no-hitter on July 9, striking out 14, before signing with the Rangers as a Minor League free agent four days later. The 24-year-old southpaw went 4-3 with a 2.74 ERA over 42 2/3 innings in eight starts at Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach last season.
Martinez is a 19-year-old right-hander who signed with Seattle out of the Dominican Republic before the 2014 season. He's appeared in three games this year, striking out four over 6 2/3 innings for the Rookie-level DSL Mariners. Last season, he was 1-1 with a 2.22 ERA in 17 games in the same league.
GHRP-2 is believed to stimulate the body to create more Human Growth Hormone (HGH). According to GHRP2.com, the substance increases energy and endurance, accelerates recovery from injuries, enhances the immune system, improves protein synthesis and eyesight and strengthens bones, among other benefits.
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.
Major League Baseball has issued 64 suspensions this year for violations of the Minor League drug program.