Major League Baseball has announced that Orioles left-hander Troy Patton will be suspended for 25 games after testing positive for amphetamines.
The loss of Patton for a month only adds to bullpen uncertainties for the Orioles. Having traded closer Jim Johnson to the Athletics, Baltimore looked to have found his replacement in the form of Grant Balfour. Problems with Balfour's physical now have his two-year, $15MM pact with the O's in jeopardy, however. The Orioles are reportedly turning their focus to Fernando Rodney as a result of that situation.
Patton, 28, pitched to a 3.70 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 45.3 percent ground-ball rate in 56 innings last season. Though his numbers against lefties took a step back in 2013, he was a force against left-handed hitters in 2012, holding them to a .212/.262/.292 batting line.