The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball has suspended New York Mets minor league pitcher Brandon Welch for 50 games for testing positive for a drug of abuse for the second time, according to Danny Wild of MiLB.com.
The 23-year-old's suspension will go into effect at the start of the 2015 season. Welch was picked in the fifth round of the 2012 draft by the Mets. In 2014, he went 2-2 for the Brooklyn Cyclones, earning a 5.18 ERA through 33 innings in 14 appearances, including three starts. The right-hander struck out 21 batters and walked 12.
Major League Baseball's "drugs of abuse" include cocaine, marijuana, heroin, LSD and ecstasy. Players receive a warning after a first offense and a 50-game suspension after a second.
Minor leaguers who test positive for a performance-enhancing substance receive a 50-game suspension automatically.
The league has already suspended four players for violations of the minor league drug program this year, including Mets minor league infielder L.J. Mazzilli.
- Christopher Woody