Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays need to address banned substance list with minor leaguers

ST PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: Thomas Pannone #45 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a pitch in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 28, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: Thomas Pannone #45 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a pitch in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 28, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Blue Jays had another minor league prospect get suspended for using a banned substance. This leads many of us to ask: Why does this keep happening?

Major League Baseball has worked very hard to rid the game of performing enhancing drugs, and the ugly shadow that hung over the game during the “steroid era”. As a result, the rules have been significantly tightened up, and slowly but surely it seems like things are getting better in that regard.

Unfortunately there are still suspensions though, and it’s happened a lot more in the minor leagues than it has with big leaguers. The rules are slightly different, but regardless, the system shouldn’t be a lot different. The players are provided with a list of banned substances, and they’re expected to make sure they don’t compromise their bodies or the tests that could be taken at random. In any competitive environment there is always the temptation to cheat, but these days it’s not very easy to get away with it.

The frustrating part for Blue Jays fans is that there have been a few players who have tested positive and received suspensions in recent memory, including Griffin Conine, whose 50 game ban was announced yesterday. He’s not the only one in recent memory though, as the Blue Jays saw the same fate happen to Thomas Pannone last season, and Chris Colabello in 2016. Those two tested positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, while Conine’s was for Ritalinic Acid. They also acquired David Paulino from the Houston Astros last season, and he too served a suspension in 2018.

More from Jays Journal

The Blue Jays aren’t the only team that’s been hit with suspensions, but it feels like a repeat offence that has happened too many times in recent memory. Obviously the biggest onus is on the player’s to protect what goes into their bodies, and to consult with team physicians if something is unclear at any time. However, you have to wonder if there isn’t more the Blue Jays could be doing to make sure this doesn’t happen again, or at least so frequently.

In Conine’s case, it sounds like he was using something as simple as Ritalin, a common substance that’s used to battle the effects of ADD/ADHD. Players are allowed to use it if they have a prescription and clearance from the league, but in this case it doesn’t sound like Conine had secured it. Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles learned a similar lessons when he was suspended a few years ago as well, but it sounds like he’s gone through the proper channels since. It’s not a steroid by any means, but it does have the potential to provide a boost of energy, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that it could be wrongfully used.

Regardless, I would hope that the Blue Jays will take this as an (another?) opportunity to make sure they ramp up the education their minor leaguers receive on the banned substance list. I have no doubt that there are already procedures in place, but Conine’s suspension might be enough evidence that the message needs to hammered home even harder. I believe people can make honest mistakes, but these players do ultimately need to be accountable, and their employers need to give them all the tools they can to make sure an honest mistake is avoided as well.

Next. Blue Jays trade tree: Trent Thornton. dark

Unfortunately Conine’s absence will serve as another harsh reminder for both the player, and the organization. Hopefully both can take his absence as a learning opportunity and to work towards making sure this doesn’t happen again in the Blue Jays’ organization any time soon, or hopefully ever again.

facebooktwitterreddit