Minnesota Twins pitcher Ervin Santana has been suspended by Major League Baseball for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Santana’s 80-game suspension will begin with the Twins first game of the season on Monday, April 6.
Santana reportedly tested positive for Stanozolol, a substance that is illegal under the Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Santana released a public statement saying he must have unknowningly taken the drugs sometime while he was in his home country and that this was as big of a surprise to him as it was to the Twins.
In part of his statement Santana said,
“”I preach hard work, and don’t believe in short cuts,” Santana said. “I am very disappointed that I tested positive for a performance enhancing drug. I am frustrated that I can’t pinpoint how the substance in question entered my body. I would never knowingly take anything illegal to enhance my performance.”
ESPN’s Jayson Stark says that Santana’s defense just can’t hold up,
“This is not an excuse that major league baseball will tolerate in any way. The old dog ate my homework excuse just doesn’t fly. Players are given a toll-free number to call if they have any questions about any substance that they would consider taking.”
Santana played for the Atlanta Braves last season, going 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA in 196.0 innings. His performance with Atlanta prompted the Twins to sign Santana to a four-year $55 million deal. it was the largest contract in franchise history and it is also now something they may be regretting.
Santana had been slated to start the second game of the season for the Twins after Phil Hughes who starts on Opening Day. The Twins also issued a short statement regarding Santana’s suspension,
“We were disappointed to learn of the suspension of Ervin Santana for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” the Twins said. “We fully support Major League Baseball’s policy and its efforts to eliminate performance enhancing substances from our game. Per the protocol outlined in the Joint Drug Program, the Minnesota Twins will not comment further on this matter.”
Santana is 119-100 over his 10-year career with a 4,17 ERA. He spent eight seasons with the Los Angeles Angels and then one each with the Kansas City Royals and the Atlanta Braves.