NEW YORK – Marcus Stroman’s timeline to the big-leagues has been pushed back indefinitely after the 22nd overall pick in 2012 was handed a 50-game suspension over a positive test for a performance-enhancing drug.
The right-handed reliever, a possibility for a September call-up from double-A New Hampshire, began serving his ban Tuesday night and will sit out the remaining seven games in the minor-league season and then 43 more next year.
Stroman, 21, cannot play in either the Arizona Fall League or Latin America’s Winter Ball, though he will be able to participate in Grapefruit League action next spring.
In a statement issued through the Blue Jays, he said he unknowingly ingested the stimulant Methylhexaneamine through an over-the-counter supplement, “despite taking precautions to avoid violating the minor-league testing program.”
"Nonetheless, I accept full responsibility and I want to apologize to the Toronto Blue Jays organization, my family, my teammates, and the Blue Jays fans everywhere," he added. "I look forward to putting this behind me and rejoining my teammates."
Tony LaCava, the Blue Jays' assistant GM who oversees the farm system, expressed disappointment at the news but pointed out that players must be responsible for what goes into their system. The club hands out a list of supplements approved by NSF International that players can use safely, and Stroman strayed from that for some reason.
"I don't know the name of the product," said LaCava. "My understanding is that it was picked up at a GNC, or a GNC type of store. … Obviously, it was something that was not on the approved products."
Stroman was 2-0 with a 3.38 earned-run average and 1.75 WHIP in eight games with the Fisher Cats. He was 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 11.1 innings for single-A Vancouver before that.
Projected as a top-10 pick, he slipped in the draft over concerns about his 5-9, 185-pound frame, even though he was widely described as the 2012 draft candidate likeliest to first reach the majors.