Mondesi suspended 50 games for PEDs

Discipline for KC's top prospect reduced from 80 games due to medicinal origin of drug

Mondesi suspended 50 games for PEDs

NEW YORK -- Royals Minor Leaguer Raul Mondesi received a 50-game suspension on Tuesday without pay for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Mondesi, the club's top prospect and ranked No. 33 overall  in the game by MLBPipeline.com, tested positive for Clenbuterol, a performance-enhancing substance. His suspension is effective immediately.

"Today, I agreed to accept a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball," Mondesi said in a statement released by the MLB Players Association. "It is by far one of the hardest moments I have had to face in my life, but it is a decision that I accept and one that I take full responsibility for as a professional.

"I took an over-the-counter medication, [Subrox-C], which I bought in the Dominican Republic to treat cold and flu symptoms. I failed to read the labeling on the medication or consult with my trainer or team about taking it and did not know it contained a banned substance. I tested positive for that banned substance, with a minuscule amount of Clenbuterol in my system, which could not have possibly enhanced my performance on the field, and now must face the consequences of that mistake.

"I apologize to my organization, my teammates, the fans and everyone who has supported me in my career. Never did I intend to take a substance that would give me an unfair advantage on the field. It is solely my mistake and there are no excuses for my carelessness in not being fully informed of what I put in my body. My goal is to work through this setback and make it back in time to help my organization compete for another World Series title."

MLB and the MLBPA reached an agreement to drop the suspension from 80 to 50 games after Mondesi showed the banned substance in a cold medicine, according to the New York Post's Joel Sherman.

"This is an unfortunate incident that we believe to be an innocent mistake, but these are the consequences that players face when they do not adhere to the policies that have been collectively bargained," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said in a statement. "We have a protocol in place with our medical team should a player ever have questions about what they may be taking, even if it's an over-the-counter medication. In this particular case, the protocol was not followed and the consequences are such. We remain supportive of Raul Mondesi Jr."

MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez also reported, per a source, that Mondesi will be eligible for MLB postseason games and tiebreaker games.

Royals players reacted to the suspension with great surprise.

"Fifty games? For cold medicine?" one player said as he watched the report on MLB Network in the visitors' clubhouse at Yankee Stadium. "That's harsh."

Infielder Christian Colon got to know Mondesi well in Spring Training.

"He's a great kid, so this is very unfortunate," Colon said. "He's a very positive guy, always smiling. He'll bounce back from this. He works hard."

Added Royals manager Ned Yost: "Of course, you're always surprised [by a suspension]. It was a case where a young man had a cold and he went in and got an over-the-counter drug medicine. It wasn't like he was taking performance-enhancing drugs. It was a surprise. It was a surprise to him. It was a surprise to everybody, but it just shows you, you can't take anything nowadays, over-the-counter or anything, without consulting the training staff first.

"Energy drinks -- you can fail a drug test with an energy drink. So we try to do our best to inform these guys: 'Look, you don't take anything without letting a trainer know exactly what it is.' It can cost you 50 games."

The 20-year-old Mondesi is on the club's 40-man roster and was with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where he was hitting .250 in 25 games.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.