Philadelphia Phillies left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo was one of 12 players who accepted 50-game suspensions handed down by Major League Baseball on Monday for their involvement with the Biogenesis scandal.
It's the latest blow for the Phillies, who are 50-61 and were 12.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League West and 10.5 behind in the Wild Card race entering Monday.
Bastardo, who began serving his suspension immediately, is 3-2 with a 2.32 ERA in 48 appearances this season. He had been serving as closer Jonathan Papelbon's set-up man with Mike Adams on the disabled list. He technically is eligible to return for the final game of the regular season, but in all likelihood Bastardo's 2013 season is over.
Bastardo was among a group of unknown players in the investigation whose names were first connected to the case when the suspensions were announced.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was not made available on the team's off-day, but Phillies president David Montgomery issued a statement that read: "Obviously, the Phillies are very disappointed to learn of Antonio Bastardo's violation of Major League Baseball's Drug Program. We strongly believe in the Program and look forward to a time when performance-enhancing drugs are completely out of baseball. Hopefully the sanctions announced today will bring us closer to that day. We respect the fact that Antonio has acknowledged his serious mistake and accepted his 50-game suspension."
Bastardo has allowed 32 hits, 11 earned runs and struck out 47 batters in 42 2/3 innings this season. He will forfeit approximately $460,000 of his $1.4 million salary this season.
While Alex Rodriguez's appeal of a 211-game suspension and the 50-game suspensions of Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz and Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta dominated Monday's news due to their teams' involvement in playoff races, Bastardo's name made headlines due to the reaction of a former teammate.
Dan Meyer, a former major-league pitcher, was in spring training with the Phillies in 2011 and expressed his anger in the possibility he lost out on a spot in Philadelphia's bullpen to Bastardo.
Former big league pitcher Dan Meyer expressed his anger toward Bastardo on Twitter. He pitched with the Phillies in Spring Training in 2011, going 2-0 with a 6.75 ERA in five appearances. He was assigned to Minor League camp before the Phillies released him.
"Hey Antonio Bastardo, remember when we competed for a job in 2011. Thx a lot," Meyer wrote on his Twitter account. He added, "Never said I was good enough, but what about the players that never got their chance? Their lives could have been completely different."
Bastardo made his major-league debut with the Phillies in 2009, and has a 3.65 ERA in 208 career games, including 11 saves in 20 opportunities. He was 6-1 with a 2.64 ERA and a career-high eight saves in 2011.