Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that Red Sox starter Steven Wright has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide 2 (GHRP-2). Via the MLBPA, Wright released a statement:
I was notified by MLB that I failed a test under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program during this past offseason. Although I do not dispute the validity of the test, I was shocked as I have never intentionally ingested anything for performance-enhancing purposes. I have fully cooperated with MLB and will continue to try and identify the source of the result.
Wright, 34, underwent an arthroscopy and a debridement procedure on his left knee in November. The Red Sox were planning on having him work out of the bullpen, but he won’t be doing that until the summer. Presumably, Wright was taking the substance in order to aid his recovery from his surgery. Wright is a knuckleballer, so he wasn’t trying to add more zip to his fastball.
Due to injuries, Wright has managed to pitch only 77 2/3 innings over the last two seasons. Last year, across four starts and 16 relief appearances, the right-hander posted a 2.68 ERA with 42 strikeouts and 26 walks.
The Red Sox haven’t seemed interested in bringing back free agent flamethrower Craig Kimbrel, but perhaps losing Wright for half a season might motivate the club to add more bullpen depth. There are still some decent names out there beyond Kimbrel.