Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Major League Baseball returned to start the 2015 season April 6th, where the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Chicago Cubs 3-0. However, the season didn’t begin without controversy.
Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Ervin Santana began his 2015 campaign by dialing a drug test. Santana was suspended 80 days for first-time failure, and he was caught taking stanozolol.
Stanozolol, also known as Winstrol, is a similar steroid to testosterone. It’s used to treat hereditary angioedema, which causes swelling to the face, throat and extremities. Stanozolol also has side effects; the main one is liver problems, according to drugs.com.
What’s disturbing about this is the underlying trend. Seattle Mariners pitcher David Rollins and Atlanta Braves pitcher Arodys Vizcaino have also been suspended this year. New York Mets pitcher Jenrry Meija was the latest to fail a drug test.
What do these pitchers have in common other than their suspensions? All were caught with stanozolol.
Mejia expressed sadness and disappointment in his statement released by Major League’s Players Association (MLBPA). The statement includes Mejia’s apology and bewilderment, saying he honestly did not know how he took a banned substance.
Santana said the same thing too, stating he would never take an illegal substance to boost his performance.
Let’s play devil’s advocate here. If they didn’t know they were taking a steroid, then what did they take that included it? Perhaps the better question is investigating the common thread.
Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated covered the possible thread titled, “Jenrry Mejia latest to be suspended as MLB searches for Stanozolol answers.” Jaffe states the trend definitely should catch the eye of new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.
Stanozolol is not new with athletes, unfortunately. Jaffe states Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his gold medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics after testing positive for the drug. Slugger Rafael Palmeiro also tested positive for it shortly after he recorded his 3,000th hit.
It’s obvious there is a problem, but we don’t know what it exactly is. The last thing Manfred should want is another Biogenesis scandal on his hands.
Biogenesis (a refresher for those that don’t know) is a South Florida wellness clinic that had players come in for taking steroids. On August 5, 2013, MLB handed down a record 13 suspensions, the most notable being Ryan Braun (65 games) and Alex Rodriguez (year-long suspension).
Each player from that scandal has returned, but the damage has already been done. It’s been almost two years since, and we already could have a new outrage on our hands.
The game and fans don’t need this. Baseball returned one week ago, and the last thing it needs is to start off the wrong foot. Frankly, that’s the case if more players fail their drug tests with stanozolol.
*Jay Jaffe is a contributing baseball writer for SI.com. Follow him on Twitter @jay_jaffe
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