Shortstop Jorge Polanco of the Minnesota Twins was suspended by Major League Baseball for 80 games after he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. The suspension is a huge blow to the Twins as they made several moves to improve their roster during the offseason with the idea of contending for the American League Central title.
The office of the MLB Commissioner announced on Sunday that the Twins shortstop had his test return positive for Stanozolol. Polanco is the sixth player this year banned under the MLB drug program, which already is one more than all of last season.
Last season, Polanco started at shortstop in 127 games for Minnesota, ending the season batting .256 with 13 homers, 74 runs batted in and 13 stolen bases during its first complete season as a regular.
In June of 2017, Polanco’s grandfather died, and the 24-year old switch hitter struggled in the beginning of summer prior to being bench late in June temporarily.
However, from August 1 to the end of the regular season, Polanco hit .316 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs over a period of 55 games. He took spot No. 3 in the lineup and helped the Twins reach the wildcard game in the AL.
Minus Polanco, Minnesota will play Eduardo Escobar at short. Escobar has played at shortstop for the Twins more than any other player since 2014. The Twins also signed Erick Aybar a veteran of 12 years to a minor league deal in February and that appears as if it could pay off as the team will have another option with experience for their middle infield while waiting for Polanco to return.
The Twins released a prepared statement that expressed their disappointment but supported the drug prevention and treatment program of Major League Baseball. The statement added that the organization would not make any further comment.
Through the players’ union Polanco released a statement that said he did not realize he had taken a substance that was banned.
He said he requested and took a substance from his Dominican Republic athletic trainer than was a combination of an iron supplement and vitamin B12, which is not unusual or illegal for athletes to take, but unfortunately what he was given was not the supplement and accepts complete responsibility for that.
He said he would like to appeal his suspension but due to his respect for Minnesota’s officials, coaches and teammates has decided to withdraw a request for an appeal.