Cards prospect Reyes: Drug use 'huge mistake'

Cards prospect Reyes: Drug use 'huge mistake'

ST. LOUIS -- Top prospect Alex Reyes issued a public apology on Sunday for a positive marijuana test that will force him to miss the first six weeks of the 2016 season.

Reyes, the Cardinals' No.1-ranked prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, was participating in his first Cardinals Caravan and Winter Warm-Up. He was issued a 50-game suspension for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program last fall. The second positive test was triggered by marijuana usage, and it prematurely ended his participation in the Arizona Fall League. His games missed in the AFL count toward the suspension.

"I wanted to start off today by saying I apologize to the organization, my friends, my family for testing positive for marijuana down in the Fall League, and I'm honestly disappointed in myself," said Reyes. "It was a huge mistake I'm learning about. I'm learning how to get past it. It's been tough dealing with the problems and everything. I'm looking forward to next season and just putting this behind me and turning the chapter on this."

The suspension cost Reyes the chance to start the AFL's Rising Stars game, as he instead returned to the Dominican Republic to begin his offseason training there. After spending two months working with a personal trainer in the Dominican, Reyes is now headed to Miami to continue his offseason preparation. He's been invited to participate in the Cardinals' Spring Training Early Program for top Minor Leaguers, and will therefore report to Jupiter, Fla., in late February.

Rookie Prg: Reyes

Had Reyes not incurred the suspension, he almost certainly would have been an invite to Major League camp. The right-hander also was projected to factor into the Cardinals' Major League plans in 2016. With this setback, that's no longer so certain.

"I try not to look at that stuff, and [instead] work at what I have to do on the field and being able to pitch every day," Reyes said. "When I'm out there on the mound, I've got to let everything take care of itself."

Reyes, 21, otherwise had a standout 2015. He posted a 2.49 ERA, 151 strikeouts and limited opponents to a .197 batting average in 101 1/3 innings between three levels in the Cards' Minor League system. He followed that with four starts in the AFL.

With his season start to be delayed, Reyes projects to begin the 2016 season in Double-A, which is where he finished last year.

"I'm just trying to be out there on the mound and be able to get my walks down," Reyes said. "[To] be able to pitch in the big leagues is something I'm looking forward to."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.