Veteran right-hander Jair Jurrjens, who was making a comeback attempt with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate, has been suspended for 80 games after testing positive for testosterone, the league announced yesterday. In a statement following the suspension, Jurrjens states that a prescribed substance that he’d been using to treat depression over the offseason is what triggered the positive test back in April. He had appealed the suspension, but that appeal has been denied.
Jurrjens, still just 31 years of age, hasn’t appeared in the Majors since 2014 and has just 16 2/3 big league innings under his belt since the completion of the 2012 campaign. Once a promising prospect with the Tigers and then the Braves, Jurrjens finished third in the 2008 NL Rookie of the Year voting — the beginning of an excellent four-year run with Atlanta. From 2008-11, he pitched 674 2/3 innings with a 3.34 ERA, 6.3 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9, making the All-Star team in 2011. However, a series of knee injuries torpedoed that promising start to his career, and he’s bounced around the league on a handful of minor league deals since that time.
The Dodgers possess a sizable crop of pitching depth — as can be seen on their depth chart — so it might’ve been a long shot for Jurrjens to resurface in the Majors anyhow. He’s still young enough to latch on with a new organization this offseason and attempt to break camp on a Major League roster, though, and his statement suggests that he plans to continue to pursue a return once his suspension has been served.
Through 54 1/3 innings with Triple-A Oklahoma City this year, Jurrjens had pitched to a 4.64 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a 42.4 percent ground-ball rate.