Astros rookie Paulino among 3 pitchers suspended for drugs
NEW YORK (AP) Houston Astros rookie David Paulino was one of three pitchers handed performance-enhancing drug suspensions Saturday by Major League Baseball.
Paulino was the only one who is currently in the majors. The commissioner's office announced he received an 80-game ban after testing positive for Boldenone, an anabolic steroid. His penalty began with Saturday night's game against the New York Yankees.
Joseph Colon of the Cleveland Indians and fellow right-hander Joan Gregorio from the San Francisco Giants were suspended for the rest of the season. Colon and Gregorio are in the minors, but both were on their club's 40-man roster.
Colon, who pitched in the majors last season, was cited for a synthetic drug whose effect is similar to that of testosterone. Gregorio showed evidence of the anabolic steroid Stanozolol, according to MLB.
There have been five suspensions this year under the major league drug program. Also banned were Pittsburgh All-Star outfielder Starling Marte and Philadelphia pitcher Elniery Garcia. There have been 47 suspensions this year under the minor league program.
Paulino was called up from the minors May 30 to fill a hole in Houston's injury-ravaged rotation. He is 2-0 with a 6.52 ERA in six starts.
''He feels bad about it and feels bad that he's put the organization in this position,'' Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. ''He'll learn from it and I'm sure David's going to have a long and fruitful major league career. ... He's got a lot of talent.''
Houston manager A.J. Hinch said he spoke to the 23-year-old pitcher and had a meeting with the team to give players the news.
''It's disappointing because of all the good that he's done in his career to get to this point to be effective. But it's the nature of the business sometimes when you try to find a competitive edge,'' Hinch said. ''The program is in place to catch these types of actions and it worked.''
Despite all the injuries to key pitchers, Houston began the day with the best record in the majors at 54-27. Paulino could return for the final game of the regular season, but is ineligible for the postseason this year. He loses $266,585 of his salary, which is at a $536,100 rate for the season while in the major leagues.
Luhnow doesn't expect Paulino back in 2017.
''It's a shame because he was off to a good start with us this year and proved that he could pitch and help at this level, and now he's not able to do that this year or in the postseason,'' Luhnow said. ''So we'll have to wait until next year.''
Paulino made his big league debut in 2016, going 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA in one start and two relief appearances.
''We hope this is a one-time incident and something David can learn from as he continues his career,'' Luhnow said in a statement. ''The Astros will continue to fully support Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.''
The 27-year-old Colon made his big league debut with the Indians last July 8 and was 1-3 with a 7.20 ERA in 11 relief appearances. He has a 4.13 ERA in 28 relief outings this year at Triple-A Columbus.
Gregorio, 25, is 4-4 with a 3.04 ERA in 13 starts this season at Triple-A Sacramento.
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