Even During a Pandemic, Baseball Players are Still Failing PED Tests

Edgar Santana pitches for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the St Louis Cardinals
Edgar Santana pitches for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the St Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Major League Baseball's players are set to report to training camps this week, but the business of the league didn't stop during the coronavirus pandemic. On Sunday, Pittsburgh Pirates righty Edgar Santana and three minor leaguers were suspended 80 games for performance-enhancing drug use.

Santana was expected to be on the Pirates's roster this season, but now he'll miss all 60 games this season and 20 in 2021. He tested positive for Boldenone, an anabolic steroid. Santana last pitched in the major leagues in 2018, and was out all of the 2019 MLB season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. In 2018 the 28-year-old he was really good out of the bullpen for the Pirates, posting a 3-4 record, with a 3.26 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP and 54 strikeouts against 12 walks in 66.1 innings.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati Reds right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez was suspended for 80 games for testing positive for old-school steroid Stanozolol. Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers Reza Aleaziz and Juan Idrogo also got slapped with PED suspensions, while Minnesota Twins second baseman Jose Rosario tested positive for a drug of abuse.

The 24-year-old Gutierrez is a top 15 prospect in the Reds system and was a candidate to make the roster in 2020. Back in 2016 he was a top international prospect and Cincinnati signed him out of Cuba for $4.75 million. He wasn't great in 2019 but he has good stuff if it could be molded. Instead he's facing a lengthy suspension well into 2021.

Aleaziz and Idrogo don't rank highly in the Dodgers' system, MLB.com doesn't have either of them among the organization's top 30 prospects. The 18-year-old Rosario similarly isn't considered an important piece for the Twins.

While these aren't hugely impactful suspensions it's pretty crazy they are happening in the middle of a pandemic. Even a global health scare can't stop athletes from cheating.