Twins right-hander Michael Pineda received a 60-game suspension without pay on Saturday, according to an official announcement from the Office of the Commissioner. Pineda tested positive for a diuretic (and blood pressure medication) called hydrochlorothiazide, which is on MLB’s list of banned substances and known masking agents for PEDs. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, an arbitrator invoked the ‘mitigation provision of the drug program’ after determining that the substance had not been used as a masking agent for a performance-enhancing drug, so Pineda will only serve a 60-game suspension instead of the standard 80-game penalty applied to first offenses. Even with the reduction, however, he’s expected to miss the remainder of the regular season and will not be eligible for postseason play.
Both Pineda and the Twins organization released statements following MLB’s decision. From Pineda:
I’d like to begin with my sincere apologies to the Twins organization, the fans, my teammates, and my family for my error in judgement.
I mistakenly took a medication that was given to me by a close acquaintance, who obtained it over-the-counter and assured me it would safely help me manage my weight. I ingested a few of these pills without the consent of the Twins’ training staff. Testing revealed trace elements of a substance called Hydrochlorothiazide, which is a banned diuretic under baseball’s testing program.
This was shocking for me to hear. I never intended to cheat the system, other players, or opposing teams. While I am pleased that the arbitrator found there was clear and convincing evidence to reduce my discipline, I realize that I am ultimately responsible for what goes in my body and therefore respect the 60-game suspension that remains. I hope that I can be an example to others about how important it is to check with experts before taking any substance from an outside source.
The Twins, meanwhile, expressed their disappointment over the suspension and declined to comment further on the situation, per the protocol put in place by MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
This is the first such suspension of Pineda’s major-league career to date. On the cusp of free agency in 2020, the 30-year-old hurler will finish his first campaign in Minnesota with an 11-5 record through 26 starts and a 4.01 ERA, 1.7 BB/9, 8.6 SO/9, and 2.7 fWAR through 146 innings.