Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Thomas suspended for drug of abuse

Biscuits catcher Mark Thomas has drawn a 50-game suspension after a second positive test for a drug of abuse.

Major League Baseball announced the suspension a few minutes ago. Thomas' locker has been cleared out of Riverwalk Stadium and his suspension will last the rest of this season and the first 10 games of 2014.

"It's really unfortunate," Biscuits manager Billy Gardner said. "They have these random drug tests in place and you would hope it would deter players whether it's (performance-enhancing drugs) or recreational drugs, but they're kids.

"Sometimes, they make poor decisions and, when they make bad choices, they have to own up to them," Gardner said. "I think Mark did that. He didn't make any excuses. He was very disappointed and felt he let himself and his family down.

"We're very supportive of Mark, and so is the Tampa Bay Rays organization and the players. At the end of the day, it may be a blessing in disguise for him."

Thomas is the seventh Rays minor leaguer to serve a drug suspension this year.

Josh Sale, Ryan Brett and Charlie Cononie still had time to serve due to suspensions late last season. Sale drew a further suspension from the Rays for his conduct just after his drug suspension ended. Brett has returned, while Cononie was released. (Four others were also due to serve suspensions this year but were released in the offseason.)

Catcher David Wendt drew a 50-game suspension in January, though he was released before appearing in a game. Jose Disla, a pitcher in the Dominican, started a 50-game suspension in late April. Angel Yepez, a pitcher in Venezuela, started one in May.

The Rays have had 12 minor leaguers suspended since the start of 2012, according to Minor League Baseball.

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