The Phillies are in the news today, but not in the way you want them to be.
Phillies minor league pitcher Elniery Garcia suspended 80 games for PED— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) April 14, 2017
Phillies minor league pitcher Elniery Garcia, 22, has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for the PED Boldenone. That’s the same steroid that got Jenrry Mejia banned for life, though his lifetime ban was because he’d already been busted twice.
Garcia is a lefty who was ranked at No. 7 on our friend Eric Longenhagen’s Phillies prospect list on Fangraphs, and Matt Winkelman had him at 22 on his list at Phillies Minor Thoughts. He spent 2016 in High-A ball in Clearwater, where he pitched 117.2 innings with a 2.68 ERA.
Matt Winkelman also made a very astute point about Garcia’s performance over the past season.
Given his velocity spike last year, this is not especially encouraging. He was in Extended Spring Training to start the year https://t.co/sHUpVHL0Wk— Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) April 14, 2017
Well now, that’s definitely not encouraging. The velocity spike was good: it helped him on the mound, and got him noticed. But if it was just a product of a PED, then all of that is out the window. We won’t know more about his non-PED pitching capabilities until mid-season, when his 80-game suspension is up.
If a Phillies pitcher getting busted for PEDs sounds familiar, that’s because we’ve done this before, two other times in just the past year. Exactly one year ago today (April 14), Daniel Stumpf was suspended 80 games for a positive PED test. And Alec Asher was suspended for 80 games in June 2016. To have three different pitchers suspended for PEDs in the span of a single calendar year... that’s a lot.
So what does this mean?
Elniery Garcia is on the 40-man roster but suspended players go on the restricted list, so that opens up a spot on the Phillies' 40 https://t.co/acUr6xQkFT— Corey Seidman (@CoreySeidmanCSN) April 14, 2017
Well, nothing major in the immediate future. Corey Seidman points out in his piece for CSNPhilly that the spot on the 40-man doesn’t change how the Phillies were going to handle the Buchholz injury, since all the possible replacements are on the 40-man already. So we’ll have to wait and see which lucky minor league player is going to get their turn on the 40-man roster.