Venezuelan pitcher Ángel Nesbitt is among the five players who received suspensions for breaking the regulations on drug use and doping substances in professional minor league baseball competition.
The sanctions were announced Friday by the commissioner’s office, Rob Manfred. Three Toronto Blue Jays players were suspended.
Nesbitt, a former pitcher with the Detroit Tigers, was suspended 50 games after testing positive for the stimulant Heptaminol, a suspension that comes at the worst of times as the 26-year-old right-hander is a free agent.
Nesbitt’s passage through the majors left him 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in his 24 relief appearances for the Detroit Tigers.
Newsbitt played last season in Detroit’s minor league system, going 1-1 with a 6.08 ERA against opposing hitters.
Hispanic Carlos Pimentel, a right-hander in the Houston Astros organization, was suspended 56 games for a positive stanozolol, a substance used to improve performance. Pimental is on the roster of the rookie-level team of reigning World Series champs.
Venezuelan shortstop Hugo Cardona, his compatriot infielder Yhon Pérez, and Dominican receiver Leonicio Ventura of the Blue Jays each received 72 suspension games after testing positive for Boldenone, another performance-enhancing substance.
All three are on the roster for the Blue Jays’ rookie category team in the Dominican Republic summer league.
The five suspensions bring the penalties applied this year under anti-doping regulations in the minors at 74, with five in the Major League Baseball program.
Manfred reiterated that the fight against doping has become a priority for his office and they will continue to implement the control system to the full.