Nearly everyday after the All-Star break, there has been news that one or more players have been suspended as part of the Dominican Summer League. Thursday, it was Chicago Cubs Minor League players Jesse Lebron and Alexander Mejia, both of whom received 50-game suspensions after each tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Lebron, a pitcher, tested positive for Methandienone metabolites. Mejia, a second baseman, tested positive for a metabolite of Boldenone. The day before that it was catcher Juan Fortuna and pitcher Juan Garcia of the Kansas City Royals and pitcher Starling Peralta of the Chicago Cubs. All three of those players were hit with 50 game suspensions. All three players tested positive for a metabolite of Boldenone.
It has been a constant part of the reporting here on The Biz of Baseball, and has given us a run for our money to keep the historical record up to date.
As reported last week, the word was, “Sometimes they just come in bunches.”
That may only part of the matter.
The AP has reported that players that have been players suspended out of the Dominican and Venezuelan Summer Leagues haven’t been reported prior due to a legal issue (exact details not provided). The logic being that if the league never announced the suspensions before, these players have slipped by the public as PED users.
That may, or may not be true on technicality. In 2006, six players were suspended out of the Venezuelan Summer League, with press releases coming out of the Commissioner’s Office.
There were four players suspended on 7/24/06 (Carlos Fajardo, Reds - Alfredo Martin and Jonathan Requena of the Twins - Richard Rodriguez, Blue Jays) and two players on 8/2/06 (Marcos Chavez and Jonathan Gonzalez of the Cardinals). As mentioned, it may be a technical issue, but those players were suspended as part of the Venezuelan League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, which would be different than how the players that are being suspended now are classified.
In the cases this year, the players in the Dominican Summer League have been suspended under the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. No word back yet from the Commissioner’s Office as to whether it’s how they have been reported.
Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Journal gets Selig on-record.
"I have no doubt the program is working as it should and there is a deterrent," Selig said.