Marcus Stroman, the first Duke player selected in the first round of the baseball draft, was suspended for 50 games for using methylhexaneamine, a banned stimulant.
The right-hander, who was taken 22nd overall by the Toronto Blue Jays and received a signing bonus of $1.8 million, said he unknowingly ingested the substance while taking an over-the-counter supplement. According to medical reports, methylhexaneamine is a substance that was originally used as a nasal decongestant, but was banned by baseball because it is believed to increase energy and focus.
I accept full responsibility, and I want to apologize to the Toronto Blue Jays organization, my family, my teammates, and the Blue Jays fans everywhere, Stroman said in a release provided by the Blue Jays organization. I look forward to putting this behind me and rejoining my teammates.
Messages left on Stromans cellphone asking for further comment were not returned.
Before the draft, analysts suggested Stroman had a chance to play in the majors this season. He has been pitching in relief in his professional career, posting a 3-0 record with a 3.26 ERA, 23 strikeouts and nine walks in 19 1/3 innings between Class A Vancouver and Double-A New Hampshire.
Tuesdays announcement eliminated any chance of a major league appearance this season. The ban will stretch into next year.
This suspension is unfortunate, and we are disappointed by this development, Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said in a team release.
Stroman finished his junior season at Duke with a 2.39 ERA while striking out the second-highest number of batters in the NCAA (136).
If not for his height (Stroman is 5-foot-9), draft analysts thought Stroman might have gone in the first 10 picks of the draft. His fastball reaches 98 mph. After the draft, the Blue Jays scouting staff said they felt Stroman had the best stuff of any pitcher in the draft. They also said his character was just as strong.
While contemplating his professional future in June, Stroman said after the draft it would be hard to imagine playing the majors this year if that came to pass.
But in the end, I want nothing more than to have that (chance), Stroman said. Thats the ultimate goal, and the sooner I get there, the better.