Home Runs Set Record in June, Topping Even Steroids Era High

By Ronald Blum, APBaseball Writer

Justin Smoak's opposite-field drive dropped over the left-field wall in Toronto, and an eye-popping record had been set. Batters reached a home run mark for a month, shattering the syringe-fueled high of the Steroids Era.

Matt Olson

Hitters in 2017 are on pace to crush the previous MLB single-season total home run record, and pitchers think the explosion in hitting can be attributed to something different about this year's baseballs. Pictured here, Matt Olson of the Oakland Athletics swings for a home run off Mike Foltynewicz of the Atlanta Braves during the ninth inning of a game on June 30, 2017, in Oakland, California.

Hitters went deep 1,101 times in June, topping the 1,069 of May 2000, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"Global warming! The warmer it is, the farther the baseball's going to fly," joked Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

Humor aside, it became clear that far more than just weightlifting gave batters a lift as the 20thcentury ended. Offense declined after drug testing with penalties started in 2004 and amphetamines were banned in 2006.

But batters have perked up since the second half of the 2015 season. Four of the top six home-run months have occurred in 2017 or last year, with June joined by this May (1,060) along with last August (1,053) and June (1,012).

"I cannot offer you a concrete explanation for the increase in home runs," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wrote Friday in an email to The Associated Press.

Tanner Roark

"We have tested the baseball extensively and are convinced that is not the answer. We have significantly increased our drug testing and are comfortable that PEDs are not the answer. Given these efforts, I feel that the increase in HRs is attributable to changes in the game and the approach of hitters that have been well documented."

June's average of 2.70 homers per game also set a mark, topping the 2.64 in May 2000.

"There's a weirdness to this season," said Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price. "Everybody throws 100 mph, and everybody hits 24 homers in 60 games."

Baseball offense is becoming all or nothing. Strikeouts have set records for nine consecutive years, with last season's average 8.02 per team per game up 27 percent from the 6.30 average in 2007. This season's average is 8.23, on track for another high. Pictured here, Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark has thrown a home run ball to the Marlins; first baseman Justin Bour.

"The game has turned into more of a max-effort affair on a number of fronts," said Baltimore's Mark Trumbo, who led the major leagues with 47 homers last year. "The home run is in fashion, and I'd say guys are taking their rips at it."

Tampa Bay pitcher Jake Odorizzi suspects a more nefarious explanation.

"I know a lot of times I get balls back, regardless of the result, and there's a dent in them. I just think that's how they changed it and didn't really divulge it to anybody," he said. "But it's kind of a speculation kind of thing until something officially comes out."

MLB has UMass-Lowell's Baseball Research Center test the Rawlings balls periodically. Price had a tongue in-cheek scientific solution.

"We'' weigh it. We'll measure nit. We'll saw it in half, and we'll define if it's wound tighter, if there's a magic pill in the middle of it that's making it shoot an extra yards when it's put in play," Price said. "I would think that would be the simplest thing to do."

Orlando Arcia

Aaron Judge, whose major league-leading 27 home runs is two shy of the Yankees' rookie record set by Joe DiMaggio in 1936, maintains video and analytics have titled the balance to batters in recent years.

Clouts have become prized over mere contact. Pictured here, shortstop Orlando Arcia of the Milwaukee Brewers watches the flight of the home run he hit against the Miami Marlins.

"Instead of just putting the ball in play, they want to do damage now. They want to hit the ball with purpose, barrel the ball up," the 6-foot-7,282-pound Judge said.

"There are players emerging on a yearly basis who are just bigger, stronger and faster," said Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black.

Judge's drive off Baltimore's Logan Verrett on June 11, which cleared Yankee Stadium's left-field bleachers and would have traveled 495 feet unimpeded, is the longest this season.

Chad Pinder hit what was thought to be just the fifth home run into the second deck at Oakland since the level opened in 1996, a May 20 shot against Boston that Statcast pegged at 460 feet.

An emphasis on increased pitching velocity may be tied to power.

"You hit something that's going faster, it's going to exit faster, which in turn causes it to go farther," said New York Mets outfielder Jay Bruce.

Even Clayton Kershaw has been impacted. The Los Angeles Dodgers ace pitcher, regarded by many as baseball's best, has given up 17 home runs this year --- one more than his previous high for a season.

"I think guys are fixated on the home runs across the game," said Houston manager A.J. Hinch. "We've seen that change over time, OPS, power, homers, a lot of big swings, very few two-strike approaches, launch angle."

Atlanta's Matt Kemp, who hit 39 homers in 2011, feels left behind. He went deep just twice in June.

"High home run month for everybody else," Kemp said chuckling, "except me."

Photographs by Ben Margot, The Associated Press; Steve Mitchell, USA TODAY Sports; and Benny Sieu, USA TODAY Sports

The Right Role for Performance-Enhancing Drugs

By Neil Chesanow, Senior Editor, Medscape

The BALCO scandal, which exploded in 2003, was a landmark event in the history of sport because it revealed for the first time how pervasive the use of PEDs was among elite athletes, including Major League Baseball players Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi, boxer Shane Mosley, National Football League player Bill Romanowski, and other professional baseball and football players, track and field athletes, and cyclists.

Don Catlin

Don H. Catlin, MD, founded the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, the first anti-doping lab in the United States, in 1982. It is now the world's largest testing facility for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). He served as the lab's director for 25 years.

Dr. Catlin, known as the "father of drug testing in sport," has overseen testing for PEDs at the three most recent Olympics held in the United States, starting with the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. He developed the carbon isotope for detecting anabolic steroids (1991); reported darbepoetin alfa, a form of the blood booster erythropoietin (EPO), for the first time in sport (2002); identified and developed a test for tetrahydrogestrinone (THG, also known as "The Clear"), the anabolic steroid at the heart of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) scandal (2003); and identified madol (DMT), the third reported designer anabolic steroid (2004), among other important discoveries.

An internist by training, Dr. Catlin is professor emeritus of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. He recently spoke with Medscape about developing the first tests for anabolic steroids and other PEDs, his role in the BALCO affair, his thoughts on doping in the Olympics, and how the problems of PED use in sport might better be addressed.

How did Dr. Catlin develop the first test for anabolic steroids?

Dr. Catlin wrote: In the 1980s and 1990s, sport had an enormous problem detecting testosterone use. We were using the ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone (T/E) --- an inactive steroid in human urine. If the ratio exceeded 4 to 1, the presumptive diagnosis was pharmaceutical testosterone use. However, a few athletes had T/E ratios higher than 4 but had not used testosterone. I applied the carbon isotope ratio test to distinguish whether the testosterone in urine was from normal human metabolic processes or from pharmaceutical sources.

Don Catlin

Pharmaceutical testosterone is synthesized from a precursor in plants. The Testosterone from plants contains a carbon isotope ratio that is different from normal testosterone synthesized in the human body. With this information, one could determine whether the testosterone was pharmaceutical or natural. This solved the testosterone problem for sport. If the T/E ratio was greater than 4:1, a carbon isotope ratio test was performed to determine the source of the testosterone.

Photograph by UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory

Interview with Dr. Don H. Catlin, Father of Drug Testing in Sport

Dr. Catlin: As part of the investigation of the BALCO affair, our lab identified and developed a test for tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), or "The Clear." it began with a coach who found a test tube laying on the floor of a restroom used by athletes. He picked it up, looked at it, and could see that there was a little moisture at the bottom of the tube. He forwarded it to me because we were the only people he knew who had the ability to rinse the test tube out and find out what was in there. When we performed a steroid analysis on the drop, it was obvious that it contained a steroid, but it was not one that we recognized in our vast library of anabolic steroids.

In fact, THG was the first "designer" steroid, meaning that it was undetectable by then current methods. It took about 2 months and several analytical chemists working in our laboratory to define the structure. Once we cracked the code and figured out what was going on, we kept it a secret. We then started to use the test on athletes and found a whole bunch who were using it.

The athletes had a good system. They would go to the BALCO laboratory being operated just outside of San Francisco Airport. The guy who ran the lab was good at figuring out whether his athlete customers really wanted drugs of abuse or whether they would be happy with some vitamins that the lab also made. He initially sold them vitamins, but in the process of getting to know them, he understood what they wanted was real drugs, and he made them available.

THG was developed by a chemist in Ohio who was fiddling with the steroid molecules and making them undetectable. If you don't have a reference standard for a drug, you can't prove that it's in the urine. So you must get a reference standard. We added a little methanol to the test tube, mixed it up, and applied our usual test for steroids, and we could see the footprint of a steroid, but we couldn't make out what the drug actually was.

Don Catlin

THG turned out to be a complicated molecule. When we finally figured out the entire structure, we then were able to develop a test for it.

Laboratories around the world certified by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) were using gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy to test for PEDs, which works most of the time. But THG required liquid chromatography and mass spectroscopy to detect. If you used gas chromatography, the molecule would break apart and you wouldn't see anything.

At the time, there were about 25 WADA-certified labs. They all had to develop the method we gave to them so they could test for this particular drug. When we finally wrote our paper and explained this, it was fairly dramatic. It meant that the way testing was done all over the world would have to change.

Human growth hormone is notably difficult to develop a reliable test for. Will we ever do it?

Dr. Catlin: We have a reliable test now. The trouble with it is that its retrospectivity is not very good. If you were to take growth hormone this morning and we test you this afternoon, we should be able to find it. But if you were to take it this morning and we test tomorrow, and can't find it, that's not a very good test. So we have to keep working on the test. We would like to have at least two weeks of retrospectivity. The test we have now for growth hormone has very limited retrospectivity. We can find it the same day it was taken but not if it was taken several days before an athlete is tested. Human growth hormone is rising because authorities don't enforce the restrictions. Surely athletes are aware of this. So you're catching the ones who take it right up to the last second.

Dr. Catlin: That's a good way to explain it. They're stupid. Doping is fairly complicated. Once you start getting into the chemistry, metabolites, and things like that, it gets really complicated very fast. Very few athletes who take PEDs have the kind of chemical knowledge to understand all these things.

Photographs by UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory; Alchetron, and ESPN.com

The Effects of Performance-Enhancing Drugs on an Athlete

By Running.competitor.com

Competitive running, unfortunately, has been riddled with rampant performance-enhancing drug (PED) use for years and only now have small efforts have been made by the IAAF and national federations to clean up the sport. One thing that is rarely talked about is the ill effects PEDs can have on athletes in all sports.

Effects of vision chart

Although PEDs can give an athlete unfair advantages, they also bring adverse health effects in the long run. Many of these substances cause cardiovascular conditions, organ damage, tumors and endocrine effects, all of which do more harm to the athlete than good.

ProjectKnow.com, a drug and alcohol addiction treatment resource, created a series of infographics to illustrate the effects of substances such as anabolic agents, peptide hormones, beta-2 antagonists, diuretics, and narcotics on the body to explore how performance-enhancing drugs may actually impede performance. Scroll through the images to see what negative effects PEDs can have on the different parts of an athlete's body.

Anabolic agents and peptide hormones can severely affect the brain. Anabolic agents such as testosterone promote muscle growth in the body. Using them can lead to increased aggressiveness and sexual appetite -- also known as 'roid rage.' Post-steroid withdrawal can result in depression and, in some cases, suicidal ideation.

Peptide hormones like erythropoietin (EPO) control the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen. EPO doping essentially thickens the blood --- its use without close medical supervision can lead to an increased risk of blood clots and strokes.

Stimulants, such as caffeine, amphetamines, and methamphetamine, are used to trigger responses that allow the body and mind to perform with elevated levels of focus and energy. This increase in energy can lead to nervousness and irritability. Furthermore, stimulants in the amphetamine family can have numerous pathological cardiovascular effects.

Certain substances also produce a false sense of invincibility, which can lead to further injury. Both stimulants and narcotics can cause dependence and addiction as well, which can further impair an athlete's ability to perform.

Photograph by running.competitor.com

Cloud of Steroids Hovers Above Hall of Fame Voting

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK --- The cloud of steroids hovers above Hall of Fame voting, much as it shrouded baseball in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Tim Raines, in his 10th and final year of eligibility, appeared likely to gain election along with Jeff Bagwell when the Baseball Writers' Association of America voting was announced on January 28. Rodriguez, eligible for the first time and Trevor Hoffman also could make it.

Barry Bonds

But along with focusing on those elected, many will study the vote totals of tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, has risen from 37.6 percent in 2013 to 45.2 percent last year.

This year, Bonds, pictured here, was on 64 percent of the 242 ballots obtained by Ryan Thibodaux and posted on his Hall of Fame vote-tracker, and Clemens was on 63.2 percent. That is just over half the expected total, so both project likely to fall short of the 75 percent needed.

Peter Gammons of the MLB Network, who joined the BBWAA in 1972, voted for Bonds and Clemens for the first time. He differentiates between players suspected of steroid use before the start of testing with penalties in 2004 and those suspended for drug violations.

"I judge players by their era and who they played against," said Gammons. "Clemens and Bonds, they were the best pitcher, player of their eras. And while I wrestled with it, I just decided that how do I know who did and who didn't? ... I finally just decided, you know what, they're so great that they should be in the Hall of Fame because it's a museum of baseball history."

The election of former Commissioner Bud Selig by a veterans committee in November affected the decisions of some because he presided over the era. Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago also voted for the pair for the first time.

"I was hoping that Bonds and Clemens maybe speak up a little more, talk about what they had done, why they had done it, their feelings on the integrity of the game, their feelings on the Hall of Fame," Miles said. "With the veterans committee electing Bud Selig to the Hall of Fame, I thought it was high time that the standouts from the so-called Steroids Era should join him up on the stage this July."

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Roger Clemens

Clemens, pictured here, was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz thinks just the passage of time and change in voting pool leads to a different perspective.

"Writers come and go. New writers are given the opportunity to vote that may not have covered an era 20 years ago," he said. "When it is strictly circumstance and evidence that you do not know or don't have firsthand and you're just following the rumor-ville, then that's a difficult proposition to put on a writer, to be judge and jury."

Manny Ramirez, however, appears to be viewed differently. Suspended twice for drug violations after testing with penalties began in 2004, he was tracking at 24.8 percent in his first ballot appearance. Sammy Sosa, also alleged by some to have used steroids, was tracking at 9.5 percent.

Tim Raines

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, received 24.3 percent of the vote in his first ballot appearance in 2008. He jumped from 55 percent in 2015 to 69.8 percent last year and was on 88.8 percent of the vote-tracker's ballots this year, set to join Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only members of the Hall representing Montreal. Raines spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Expos, who left Canada to join the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season.

"If I get in, that's the team I deserve to go in for, regardless if they no longer have a team," said Raines. "That was the team I played with and I'm real comfortable with that."

Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time, has increased from 41.7 percent in 2011 to 71.6 percent last year, falling 15 votes short when Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected. Bagwell was tracking at 88 percent this year.

"I just want to get it over with," Bagwell said. "This is the first year I've kind of been keeping track of it and kind of looking. I'm excited about it."

Rodriguez was tracking at 78.9 percent in his first ballot appearance, but the vote-tracker's percentages have been higher than the final totals in recent years. Vladimir Guerrero, who is also on the ballot for the first time, was tracking at 71.5 percent.

Hoffman, on 67.3 percent of the ballots in his first appearance last year, was tracking at 72.7 percent. Only five pitchers who were primarily relievers are in the Hall: Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley, Bruce Suter and Rich Gossage.

AP Sports Writer Kristie Rieken and AP freelance writer Sean Farrell contributed to this report.
Photographs by The Associated Press; New York Post; and ronshandler.com

L.J. Hoes Among Five Minor Leaguers Suspended for PED's

Outfielder gets 50-game ban after testing positive for drug abuse

By Chris Tripodi, MiLB.com

NEW YORK --- Free agent outfielder L.J. Hoes, who has played for the Houston Astros and Baltimore Orioles in the Major Leagues, was one of the five players suspended on February 15 for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

L. J. Hoes

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball suspended Hoes, who spent last season with Triple-A Norfolk, 50 games after a second positive test for a drug of abuse. His suspension begins as soon as he signs with another organization.

The 26-year-old posted an OPS under .700 for the second time in his Minor League career and the first time since 2009, batting .242/.318/.331 with six homers, 33 RBIs and eight stolen bases in 102 games.

Also suspended were Braves infielder Gabe Howell, D-backs catcher Ryan January, Cardinals left-hander Corey Littrell and Rockies infielder Yeremi Rosario.

Howell, a 20th-round pick in last year's Draft, went 3-for-20 in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League last summer. He received a 68-game suspension after a positive test for hydrochlorothiazide.

January was a Pioneer League midseason All-Star last summer and batted .273/.376/.470 with 10 homers and 26 RBIs in51 games for Rookie-level Missoula. He was suspended 50 games after testing positive for an amphetamine.

Glove and Balls

Like Hoes, Littrell received a 50-game ban following a second positive test for a drug of abuse. The 24-year-old was 2-4 with a 3.90 ERA for Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis in 2016.

"It's disappointing," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told MLB.com. "I think from just a pure baseball projection, Littrell was trending in the right direction. This isn't a death sentence. It's a setback. Hopefully, Corey understands the mistake he made and can resume his career in 50 games."

Rosario was suspended for 72 games after a positive test for Tamoxifen. He posted a .233/.288/.293 slash line with nine RBIs in 39 games in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League last year.

Hydrochlorothiazide and Tamoxifen are considered performance-enhancing substances in violation of the program, while an amphetamine is a stimulant on the list of banned substances.

As of February 15, the commissioner's office had suspended 11 players this year for violations of the Minor League drug program.

Photographs by Steven Goldburg, Norfolk Tides; and guardianr.com

Carlos Gonzalez, Tommy Collier Among Six Suspended for PEDs

Cornish, Nelson, Spoon, Simmons all banned 50 games by MLB

By Danny Wild, MiLB.com

NEW YORK -- Reds right-hander Carlos Gonzalez and Tigers All-Star starter Tommy Collier were among six players suspended on January 13 for using banned substances. They will both miss the first 50 games of the 2017 season.

Carlos Gonzalez and Tommy Collier

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball said Gonzalez, Collier, Mets right-hander Gary Cornish, Astros right-hander Makay Nelson, Red Sox outfielder Tyler Spoon and free agent infielder Kal Simmons all received 50 game suspensions without pay.

Gonzalez tested positive for Methamphetamine while Cornish, Nelson and Spoon were all cited for taking Amphetamines. Collier and Simmons were flagged for second positive tests for a drug of abuse.

All will begin serving their suspensions at the start of the 2017 season except Simmons, who will need to sit once he signs with a Major League club.

Gonzalez, 26, was part of a trio of Double-A Pensacola pitchers that combined to throw a no-hitter last May 20 at Jacksonville, highlighting a season in which he went 7-3 with a 3.77 ERA in 49 outings. He struck out 57 and walked 22 in 62 innings. The Reds added him to Triple-A Louisville's roster on January 9, although he has not played at that level since beginning his career in 2011 out of CSU Northridge.

Collier, a 2016 Eastern League All-Star, went 9-7 with a 4.20 ERA in 25 starts for Double-A Erie last year. He struck out 87 in 130 2/3 innings. The 27-year-old most recently played for the Tiburones de La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he was 2-2 with a 2.81 ERA in six games.

Cornish, 22, was the Mets' 19th-round pick out of San Diego last June and went 0-0 with a 2.16 ERA in 14 relief outings at Class A Short Season Brooklyn.

Nelson, 22, was the Astros' 20th-round pick out of Southern Idaho in 2015. He went 2-3 with a 4.68 ERA in 21 outings last season between Class A Quad Cities and Class A Short Season Tri-City.

Spoon spent last season at Class A Greenville and Class A Short Season Lowell, hitting .239 with two homers, 15 RBIs and one stolen base in 37 games. He was Boston's 35th-round Draft pick out of Arkansas in 2015.

Simmons was released by Arizona on January 5. He was previously suspended for 50 games on Sept. 24, 2015 after testing positive for an amphetamine, but he came back in 2016 to hit .367 with two homers, nine RBIs and a .426 OBP in 16 games for Rookie-level Missoula.

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball issued 100 suspensions in 2016 for violations of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Photographs by Kevin Pataky and Brian McLeod

Five Minor League Players Suspended for PEDs

50-game bans handed out for violations of Drug prevention program

By Major League Baseball

Five Minor League players have been suspended following their violations of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball has announced.

Jake Romanski

Free agent Minor League right-handed pitcher Mario Alcantara has received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Amphetamine, a stimulant in violation of the Program. The suspension of Alcantara will be effective immediately upon his signing with another Major League organization.

Boston Red Sox Minor League catcher Jake Romanski, pictured here, has also received a 50-game suspension. He has batted .280 over four seasons in the Red Sox system.

Cleveland Indians Minor League right-handed pitcher Dakody Clemmer has received a 50-game suspension without pay following a second positive test for a drug of abuse. The suspension of Clemmer, who is currently on the roster of the rookie-level Arizona League Indians, will be effective at the start of the 2017 Arizona League season.

Kansas City Royals Minor League right-handed pitcher Arnaldo Hernandez has received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Methamphetamine, a stimulant in violation of the program. The suspension of Hernandez, who is currently on the roster of the Single-A Lexington Legends of the South Atlantic League, will be effective at the start of the 2017 SAL season.

Houston Astros Minor League right-handed pitcher Brendan McCurry has received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Methamphetamine, a stimulant in violation of the Program. The suspension of McCurry, who is currently on the roster of the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks of the Texas League, will be effective at the start of the 2017 Texas League season.

Photograph by Cliff Welch, MiLB.com

Giants Prospect Chuckie Jones Suspended 100 Games for PEDs

San Francisco outfielder tests positive for third time for drug of abuse

By Michael Avallone, MiLB.com

NEW YORK --- San Francisco outfielder Chuckie Jones was suspended 100 games on August 8 after his third positive test for a banned substance.

Chuckie Jones

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball said Jones received a 100-game suspension without pay for a third violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspension is effective immediately. The 24-year-old had yet to play this season and appeared in 44 games last year following a 50-game suspension for a second positive test on April 9, 2015.

Jones is a .238 hitter with 43 homers, 202 RBIs and 44 stolen bases in 480 career games.

Jones was the Giants' seventh-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Boonville High School in Missouri. He hit .256 with 15 homers, 66 RBIs and 17 stolen bases in 131 games with Class A Advanced San Jose in 2014. After serving his suspension last season, Jones batted .240 with four homers for Class A Augusta.

Players are typically issues a warning following a first positive test for a drug of abuse, a 50-game suspension for a second offense and 100 games for a third. Substances considered "drugs of abuse" by Major League Baseball include cocaine, marijuana, heroin, LSD, ecstasy and other opiates.

Jones was the 65th player and the fourth Giants prospect to be suspended this year for violating the Minor League drug program.

Photograph by Tim Cattera, San Jose Giants

Phillies' Daniel Stumpf Suspended 80 Games for Positive Drug Test

By The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA --- Phillies Daniel Stumpf was suspended for was suspended for 80 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance.

Daniel Stumpf

The rookie left-hander tested positive for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, an anabolic steroid used to increase speed and strength.

A 25-year-old left-hander, Stumpf made his major league debut April 7 and has a 40.50 ERA in three appearances, allowing three runs in two-thirds of an inning. Stumpf is pictured here throwing a pitch in the fourth inning during the game April 7 against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

In a statement, Philadelphia said it was "disappointed to hear the news of Daniel's violation."

"The Phillies support Major League Baseball's Joint Prevention and Treatment Program and are disappointed to hear today's news of Daniel's violation," the team said in a statement.

Stumpf will lose $221, 858 of salary under his contract, which calls for him to be paid at the rate of the minimum $507,500 while in the major leagues and at the rate of $41,400 while in the minors.

Stumpf is a Rule 5 pack of the Phillies and has appeared in three games (2/3 innings pitched for the Phillies. All three earned runs he allowed came in his MLB debut April 7 in Cincinnati.

Stumpf was selected by the Phillies in the winter-meeting draft of unprotected players after going 20-23 with a 3.21 ERA during four seasons in Kansas City's minor league system. He signed with the Royals, who picked him in the ninth round of the 2012 amateur draft from San Jacinto College.

Stumpf became the fifth player suspended this year under the big league drug program. New York Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia received a permanent ban following a third positive PEDs test, and Cleveland outfielder Abraham Almonte, Cincinnati outfielder Juan Duran and free-agent catcher Taylor Teagarden were suspended 80 games each.

Photograph by Andy Lyons, Getty Images

Nate Schierholtz Suspended 80 Games for Positive Drug Test

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK --- Former big league outfielder Nate Schierholtz was suspended for 80 games on August 5 following a positive drug test for a performance-enhancing substance under baseball's minor league drug program.

Nate Schierholtz

The 32-year-old, who is currently a free agent, tested positive for Ibutamoren, a growth hormone secretagogue, the commissioner's office said. Studies have shown the substance can increase muscle mass.

Schierholtz, who was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the second round of the 2003 draft, spent eight years in the majors. He played in the majors for the Giants, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago Cubs, and, most recently, the Washington Nationals in 2014.

After putting together a line of .195/.243/.309 while playing in 122 games between the Cubs and the Nats in 2014, Schierholtz went onto the market as a free agent. He was signed by the Texas Rangers in February of 2015 and released by the team in March of that same year. The Detroit Tigers picked him up in December of 2015 but also released him in May of this year.

Schierholtz will serve the suspension if he joins a new team.

The outfielder spent the beginning of this season with the Tigers' Triple-A team. Schierholtz is pictured here with the Tigers hitting a home run in the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in a spring training game on March 17 in Lakeland, Florida.

Schierholtz held a .246/.280/.356 line in 125 plate appearances before the team released him in May.

Over 2,275 career MLB plate appearances, Schierholtz owns a .253/.302/.405 batting line with 52 home runs. He also spent the 2015 season playing in Japan for the Hiroshima Carp.

Photograph by John Raoux, Associated Press Photo

Tigers' Drake Britton, Cardinals' Luke Doyle Suspended for PEDs

Toledo left-hander handed 50-game ban after positive Amphetamine test

By Danny Wild, MiLB.com

Tigers left-hander Drake Britton and Cardinals Minor League infielder Luke Doyle were suspended on August 2 after both violated the Minor League drug program.

Drake Britton

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball said Britton, pictured here, received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for an amphetamine, while Doyle was handed a 100-game ban without pay following his refusal to take a drug test.

Britton's suspension is effective immediately, and Doyle will begin serving his once he completes a 50-game ban he was issued in March.

Last season, Britton had 17 strikeouts and 21 walks in 41 1/3 innings over 37 outings.

The 27-year-old Britton, who made his Major League debut in 2013, was 0-3 with a 4.57 ERA in 37 relief appearances for Triple-A Toledo this season. He last pitched in the Majors for Boston in 2014 before he was claimed off waivers by the Cubs on February 4, 2015. He signed with Detroit as a free agent last December.

Amphetamines are considered a stimulant in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Doyle, 21, was the Cardinals' 20th-round pick in the 2015 Draft and hit .207 with three homers and 25 RBIs in 44 games at second base with Rookie-level Johnson City last summer. He was suspended for 50 games on March 4 after testing positive for amphetamines and has not yet appeared in a game this season.

Major League Baseball has handed out 63 suspensions to 62 players for violations of the Minor League drug program this year.

Photograph by Ken Inness, MiLB.com

A's Yeudy Minaya, Astros' Edwin Fidel Suspended for PEDs

Oakland reliever, 20, to sit for 56 games following positive drug test

By Danny Wild, MiLB.com

NEW YORK --- Athletics Minor Leaguer Yeudy Minaya and fellow right-hander Edwin Fidel were suspended for 56 games apiece on August 12 after both tested positive for steroids.

Edwin Fidel

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball said both Fidel and Minaya tested positive for Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance, in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Minaya will begin serving his suspension immediately while Fidel, a free agent according to Major League Baseball, will need to sit once he signs with another Major League club.

Minaya, who turned 20 in May, was 1-1 with a 2.66 ERA in eight games this season with the Rookie-level Arizona League A's. The 6-foot-4 right-hander made two starts, earned one save and struck out 10 batters in 20 1/3 innings, with his most recent appearance coming on August 7 against the D-backs. Oakland signed the reliever out of the Dominican Republic on June 3.

Fidel, 21, was 1-0 with a 2.15 ERA in 11 outings for the Rookie-level GCL Astros and DSL Astros this season. The Dominican right-hander, pictured here, signed with the Astros last September. MLB's official statement indicated Fidel had been released and is currently a free agent, although the Astros have not announced the move.

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.

MLB has issued 67 suspensions to 66 players this year for violations of the Minor League drug program.

Photograph by the Houston Astros

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