Royals left-hander Eric Skoglund has been suspended for 80 games after testing positive for “Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators S-22 (Ostarine) and LGD-4033 (Ligandrol),” the league announced Wednesday.
Skoglund, 26, would presumably have been in the mix for a rotation spot with the Royals this spring but will instead sit out the first half of the season without pay. The 2014 third-rounder has had some success at the Triple-A level thus far in his career but has not yet broken out as a reliable MLB option in Kansas City. In 14 appearances for the Royals in 2018 (13 starts), Skoglund pitched to a 5.14 ERA with 6.3 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 1.54 HR/9 and a 42.1 percent ground-ball rate. He does have a 4.13 ERA with nearly a punchout per inning and similar control numbers through 109 innings with the Royals’ top minor league affiliate in Omaha.
Kansas City presently figures to open the season with Danny Duffy, Jakob Junis, Brad Keller and Ian Kennedy in the rotation. Skoglund’s subtraction from the race for the fifth spot will give names like Jesse Hahn, Trevor Oaks, Heath Fillmyer and Ben Lively a greater chance of making some starts in the early stages of a 2019 season that appears destined to be a rebuilding year for the Royals as they work to develop a new core following their 2015 World Series Championship.
The suspension will open a spot on the Royals’ 40-man roster, which had previously been full.