Minor League pitcher Asher suspended

PHILADELPHIA -- Triple-A Lehigh Valley right-hander Alec Asher has been suspended 80 games without pay after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

"That was surprising," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. "It's disappointing, too. You hate to see it happen. I don't know if he knew he was doing it or not, but it's disappointing. He was throwing the ball well."

Asher, whom the Phillies acquired in July as part of the Cole Hamels trade with the Rangers and is on the 40-man roster, tested for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone. It is an anabolic steroid also known as oral turinabol, which was developed in East Germany in 1962. It gained attention in the athletic world in the 1990s, when it was linked to German athletes.

Phillies pitcher Daniel Stumpf also was suspended 80 games earlier this season for testing positive for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone.

"It's pretty interesting," Mackanin said, when asked if he is concerned about two of his pitchers testing positive for the same PED. "I don't know if they were aware of it or not. They say they weren't, so I take them at their word. They can't explain it. Taking some kind of medication for whatever, didn't know what was in it, supplements, I didn't query these guys on it. Like when Stumpf was told, I didn't ask him, how you could have possibly … I didn't want to go there with him."

Asher, 24, was 4-2 with a 2.30 ERA in a combined eight starts this season with Double-A Reading and Lehigh Valley. He had been on the disabled list since late last month because of a bruised left calf.

Asher went 0-6 with a 9.31 ERA in seven starts late last season with the Phillies.

Mackanin said he is surprised some players are still trying to gain an edge on the field.

"I'm not insinuating these guys are trying to beat the system," Mackanin said. "I would assume there's always somebody trying to beat the system, you know? Looking for something they don't test for, figuring they'd get away with it. But I'm not saying these guys did that because I didn't go there with them."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.