11:40am: The league has officially announced the suspension, adding that the banned substance for which McKirahan tested was Ipamorelin.
10:43am: Bowman reports that McKirahan’s positive test was conducted in March, before the Braves claimed him from the Marlins, but the results of the test were not revealed until Sunday (Twitter links).
9:03am: MLB.com’s Mark Bowman tweets that McKirahan apologized to his teammates yesterday and informed them that he used a cream during Spring Training.
McKirahan, 25, was the Marlins’ selection in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft, (out of the Cubs’ system) but the team placed him on waivers late in Spring Training and saw the division-rival Braves claim him. McKirahan has pitched 4 1/3 innings for Atlanta so far this season, yielding a pair of runs on three hits and a walk with two strikeouts.
It’s not yet known what substance triggered the positive test, but four players have been suspended for Stanozolol over the past month. Ervin Santana and Jenrry Mejia were the most notable names among the four, but the Braves also lost Arodys Vizcaino for 80 games. The other to test positive was another Rule 5 Draft selection — the Mariners’ David Rollins.
In a bizarre way, the suspension does make it easier for the Braves to retain the rights to McKirahan. Because McKirahan was a Rule 5 pick, the Braves were required to keep him on the 25-man roster or Major League disabled list all season, as he cannot be sent to the Minors without first clearing waivers and then being offered back to the Cubs. As we saw with Rollins, the team will still control his rights while he serves his suspension on the restricted list, and they can therefore avoid rostering an inexperienced arm for much of the season. Of course, that’s not how the Braves wanted to retain McKirahan, and it remains to be seen if they’ll maintain their interest following the suspension.