The curious case of the retired MLB player who got suspended for PEDs

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Baseball is a sport where there’s an inherent interest in seeing things we’ve never seen before. Whether it’s a home run landing somewhere we never imagined or an outfielder making a throw we can’t even comprehend. Baseball is at its best when it surprises us.

So how about this?

A former Seattle Mariners catcher who retired last year was suspended by Major League Baseball on Thursday for using performance enhancing drugs.

If you’re confused, that’s OK. We were too.

His name is Mike Marjama, and if that sounds familiar it’s because he retired suddenly last July, saying he was going to help people with eating disorders instead of playing baseball.

It was a surprising move for a few reasons, but mainly because he retired right in the middle of a baseball season. He had struggled with an eating disorder and made helping people an immediate part of his post-baseball plan. Last year, Marjama played 10 games in the big leagues with the Mariners, but had spent most of his eight-year baseball career in the minors.

Mike Marjama, left, was suspended 80 games by MLB on Thursday, but it was a rather unique suspension. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Mike Marjama, left, was suspended 80 games by MLB on Thursday, but it was a rather unique suspension. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Marjama had been off the baseball radar until Thursday when Major League Baseball announced that Marjama had been suspended. There was one other wrinkle: He was trying to make a comeback. He had recently applied to get off MLB’s Voluntary Retired List.

Marjama had tested positive for Oxandrolone, a PED that only three other people in the history of MLB’s drug-testing history had been suspended for. He’s now suspended 80 games and his case for reinstatement will be heard then.

But here’s the curious part. It’s largely inconsequential, but still very curious:

Did Marjama fail a drug test last year and just decide to retire? Or did he decide to come back, have to take a drug test, then fail it and get suspended?

Yahoo Sports reached out to MLB to help with the mystery, but understandably the league couldn’t help. The confidentiality provisions of the Joint Drug Program, the league said, does not permit it to disclose the test date.

Marjama released a statement about his suspension through the players’ union but that didn’t clear up the timeline:

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Marjama will, seemingly, get another chance by the time 80 games pass, as plenty of other players have in the past. Heck, the Red Sox signed a guy this offseason who had previously been banned for life. Major League Baseball is nothing if not a place for second chances.

But it’s also a place where you see things for the first time.

So add this one to the “Can’t Predict Ball” list drilled into your baseball-loving mind.

Mike Marjama — the retired guy who got suspended for PEDs.

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