3:57pm: Quinn points out (links to Twitter) that Mondesi Jr. is the first player to receive a reduced suspension — a possibility that was added to the latest drug agreement. Had he tested positive for a stronger substance, the reduction wouldn’t have been possible, but Clenbuterol is specifically listed among the substances for which a substance can be reduced if lack of intent can be proven.
Meanwhile, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports that as part of the reduced punishment, Mondesi Jr. will still be eligible for the postseason (Twitter link).
3:45pm: Royals top prospect Raul Mondesi Jr. has received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol, the league announced today. The son of the former big league outfielder of the same name, Mondesi saw his suspension dropped from 80 games to 50 games after the league and the MLBPA showed that the substance was present in a cold medication which Mondesi had taken, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Royals GM Dayton Moore said in a statement today that the team believes that Mondesi did indeed unknowingly take the substance:
“This is an unfortunate incident that we believe to be an innocent mistake, but these are the consequences that players face when they do not adhere to the policies that have been collectively bargained. We have a protocol in place with our medical team should a player ever have questions about what they may be taking, even if an over-the-counter medication. In this particular case, the protocol was not followed and the consequences are such. We remain supportive of Raul Mondesi Jr.”
Mondesi Jr. himself has also commented on the punishment, via press release:
“Today I agreed to accept a 50 game suspension from Major League Baseball. It is by far one of the hardest moments I have had to face in my life, but it is a decision that I accept and one that I take full responsibility for as a professional. I took an over-the-counter medication (Subrox-C) which I bought in the Dominican Republic to treat cold and flu symptoms. I failed to read the labeling on the medication or consult with my trainer or team about taking it and did not know it contained a banned substance. … I apologize to my organization, my teammates, the fans and everyone who has supported me in my career. Never did I intend to take a substance that would give me an unfair advantage on the field. It is solely my mistake and there are no excuses for my carelessness in not being fully informed of what I put in my body.”
Mondesi Jr., 20, rated as the game’s No. 29 prospect entering the season, according to Baseball America. He also rated 33rd on MLB.com’s Top 100, 73rd on the Top 100 of ESPN’s Keith Law and 16th on the Top 101 of Baseball Prospectus. The toolsy shortstop began the season at Double-A — his second stint at the level — and was hitting .250/.304/.462 with five homers and 11 steals through his first 113 plate appearances. Mondesi, of course, famously made his Major League debut for the Royals not only in the playoffs last season, but in the World Series against the Mets (he was 0-for-1 with a strikeout). While he’s likely a ways from an everyday role with the Royals’ big league club, he’ll miss out on 50 days of developmental time as a result of the punishment. His presence on Kansas City’s 40-man roster means that the team will also free up a 40-man spot during Mondesi Jr.’s time on the restricted list.
Recent reports from ESPN’s T.J. Quinn indicated that further PED suspensions would be on the horizon following the 80-game suspensions dished out to Miami’s Dee Gordon, Toronto’s Chris Colabello and Philadelphia’s Daniel Stumpf. Mondesi Jr. isn’t necessarily a household name, but Quinn stated at the time that it’s unlikely any significant names would be involved.