UPDATE: Shaikin adds that Clemens was suspended based on a “non-analytical” violation, which is the same situation we saw with the 14 suspensions from the Biogenesis scandal last year. The evidence could include things like documents, clinic records and shipping information.
8:01 p.m. ET: According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, Pirates minor league right-hander Michael Clemens has been suspended 68 games for “possession and use” of human growth hormone.
Clemens, 21, was selected in the 16th round out of a McNeese State University back in June. He had a 1.00 ERA and 20/5 K/BB ratio over his first 18 professional innings as a reliever with the Pirates’ rookie ball team in Bristol, Virginia.
Why 68 games? Danny Wild of MiLB.com provides the explanation:
Under the rules of the new Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program for Rookie and Short-Season leagues, a first violation receives a discipline of 80 games or the total number of regular-season games in the league, whichever is shorter.
And so, Clemens’ first pro season ends on a sour note and the suspension will roll over into 2015.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.