As the Minnesota Twins approach the postseason, they will be without one of their best starting pitchers after Michael Pineda was suspended 60 games by MLB for a drug violation, the league announced on Saturday.
Pineda tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic that is in violation of MLB’s Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Pineda was originally suspended 80 games, but successfully appealed it to 60 games by claiming that the diuretic was “not a masking agent for PEDs.”
Twins starter Michael Pineda has been suspended for 60 games for a drug violation, sources tell ESPN. He originally got an 80-game suspension, but it was reduced to 60 on appeal, as a compelling case was made that a banned diuretic he used was not a masking agent for PEDs.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 7, 2019
In a statement, Pineda apologized for an “error in judgement.” He claimed that he was given an over-the-counter medication by a close acquaintance, who told him it would help with weight management. The pitcher said the Twins training staff did not consent to him taking the pills.
“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,” Pineda said.
What is a diuretic?
A diuretic is a performance-enhancing drug, according to the National Institute of Health, because it “excrete(s) water for rapid weight loss and to mask the presence of other banned substances.”
Pineda was apparently able to convince MLB that he did not use it for the latter.
The Twins also released a statement, saying that they were disappointed to learn of the suspension:
Statement from the Twins: pic.twitter.com/VCqvUcoI3B
— Do-Hyoung Park (@dohyoungpark) September 7, 2019
Pineda, 30, has spent six years in the majors and has started 26 games in his first season with the Twins. He is 11-5 with a 4.01 ERA and had won his last five decisions.
Not his first rodeo
He was suspended 10 games when he was with the Yankees in 2014 for having pine tar on his neck. After that incident, Pineda claimed that he wanted a better grip on the ball because of the cold weather.
Pineda missed all of 2018 with a torn meniscus in his right knee. He last pitched on Friday in a 6-2 loss to the Indians.
The Twins currently hold a 5.5 game lead over the Cleveland Indians for first place in the NL Central. But Pineda would be ineligible for the postseason, making this a huge blow to both the Twins and the pitcher.
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