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Rick Porcello says Steven Wright owes team explanation for positive drug test

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Red Sox starter Rick Porcello is a hardliner when it comes to performance enhancing drug use in baseball. He has, in the past, expressed support for harsher penalties for those who test positive. In 2016, Porcello said, “I’m all in favor for a much, much more severe punishment or a lifetime ban.”

Teammate Steven Wright tested positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide 2 (GHRP-2) on Wednesday, resulting in an 80-game suspension. Wright said in a statement, “Although I do not dispute the validity of the test, I was shocked as I have nver intentionally ingested anything for performance-enhancing purposes.”

Porcello still thinks PED users should receive harsher penalties, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reports. “It doesn’t change. I feel the same way that I felt in the past,” Porcello said.

Porcello also said Wright owes his Red Sox teammates an explanation for testing positive. Thus far, Wright has not addressed the team as a whole. It is not known yet if that will actually happen.

Wright, a knuckleballer, was limited to 53 2/3 innings last season due to injuries as well as a 15-game suspension under MLB’s domestic violence policy. When he did pitch, he was effective, posting a 2.68 ERA in four starts and 16 appearances out of the bullpen.

Pirates set to promote top prospect Mitch Keller

Mitch Keller
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MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo reports that the Pirates will promote top pitching prospect Mitch Keller in advance of their doubleheader against the Reds on Monday. Confirmation of the move is still pending an official announcement, but Keller will reportedly face off against Sonny Gray in Game 2.

Keller, 23, is currently listed as the Pirates’ no. 1 prospect and the no. 16 overall prospect in the league, per MLB.com. He was selected in the second round of the 2014 amateur draft and has spent the last six years refining his technique in Pittsburgh’s farm system, where he recently made the jump to Triple-A Indianapolis in 2018. So far this season, he’s 5-0 in nine starts with a 3.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, and 10.7 SO/9 through 47 innings.

It’s not clear how long of a leash the Pirates will give Keller, though given the current state of their rotation — down to four serviceable starters with Jameson Taillon on the 60-day injured list (right elbow flexor strain), Trevor Williams on the 10-day IL (right side strain), and a handful of replacements yet to impress — they may be inclined to keep him on a little longer than his spot start requires.