Mets pitcher gets 50-game doping ban

Mets pitcher gets 50-game doping ban
By Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports
April 28, 2006

Jeff Passan
Yahoo Sports
New York Mets minor-league pitcher Yusaku Iriki has been suspended for 50 games after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, becoming the first player exposed to the harsher penalties Major League Baseball instituted this offseason, a source told Yahoo! Sports Friday.

Iriki, who signed a one-year, $750,000 deal this offseason, will serve the longest steroid-related major-league suspension. It stems from testing done while he was with the Mets in spring training.

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Iriki, currently pitching for Triple-A Norfolk, becomes the first Japanese player suspended for a positive steroid test at the major-league level and the 13th since baseball began doling out suspensions last season.

Ten players have been suspended under minor-league testing this season.

Iriki, who was taken off the Mets' 40-man roster on April 18, remained in the organization and has pitched well. He is 1-2 with a 3.74 ERA and has struck out 24 batters in 21 2/3 innings.

The right-hander was considered a possible replacement if the injured Brian Bannister can't pitch for the Mets, who are in first place in the National League East.

Jeff Passan is a national writer for Yahoo! Sports. He is the co-author of the book "Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series," which following five printings of the first edition was re-released in a second, updated edition in October. Follow him on Twitter. Send Jeff a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.

Updated on Friday, Apr 28, 2006 4:33 pm, EDT

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