NEW YORK – A minor league catcher with the Washington Nationals has been suspended 25 games because he was found in possession of an unauthorized syringe, a person familiar with the penalty told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The ban for Hector Taveras was announced by Major League Baseball under the minor league drug program, but the reason for the suspension was not. The person who divulged it spoke on the condition of anonymity because that detail wasn't made public.
While most suspensions for first offenses are for 50 games, the person said MLB could impose lesser discipline if the reason for the penalty was other than a positive test. Under the minor league program, players may only be in possession of syringes if they have team permission.
Taveras, who turned 22 on Jan. 22, is on the roster of Washington's Gulf Coast League rookie team. He hit .291 with no homers and 24 RBIs at Washington's GCL team last year, and also was 2 for 3 at Hagerstown of the Class A South Atlantic League.
He became the fifth player suspended this year under the minor league program. Nationals catcher Adrian Nieto was suspended for 50 games last week following a positive test for a performance-enhancing substance.