Mariners Rule 5 Draft pick David Rollins has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for Stanozolol, the league announced. Rollins, a 25-year-old lefty selected out of the Astros organization, had pitched exceptionally well in Spring Training and was considered likely to make the team’s bullpen. In eight innings, Rollins had yielded one run with seven strikeouts and no walks.
The Mariners will be allowed to keep Rollins and place him on the restricted list until his suspension has been served. He can head into extended Spring Training and work out there, eventually moving to a rehab assignment before ultimately joining the team, if the club wishes to retain him. That appears to be the likely outcome, as Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune writes that GM Jack Zduriencik has indicated the team is leaning toward keeping Rollins. Via Dutton, Rollins says that the mistake came following an injury in winter ball when he was trying to speed up the recovery process. Zduriencik released the following statement via press release: “Having spoken at length with David, I know that he is truly remorseful for his error in judgement. We will continue to work with him to get past this situation.”
In a statement released via the Players Association, Rollins apologized to the organization and thanked the Mariners for their support: “My positive test was the result of a serious error in judgment. I know I have disappointed my many supporters; and my sincerest apologies go out to everyone associated with the game of baseball, especially the Seattle Mariners organization, my teammates and the fans. I am truly grateful for the opportunity the Mariners have given me and never again want to compromise this trust. From the bottom of my heart, I deeply regret this mistake and give you my word it will never happen again.”
It’s possible that Rollins could eventually pitch for the Mariners this season, and the southpaw’s Minor League track record and solid spring indicate that he could indeed stick with the club. In four seasons since being selected in the 24th round by the Blue Jays (Rollins was sent from the Jays to the Astros in the 10-player J.A. Happ/Francisco Cordero trade), Rollins has worked to a 3.39 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 358 2/3 Minor League innings. The Mariners have a potential need for a second lefty in the bullpen behind Charlie Furbush, as the team did not re-sign Joe Beimel or add a second lefty on a big league deal.