On Wednesday, the Red Sox announced via a press release that right-hander Steven Wright has been suspended 80 games for violating Major League Baseball’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
The knuckleballer apparently tested positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide 2, which according to the league’s prohibited substances list, is banned from use.
According to The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham, Wright failed the drug test during the offseason, but his appeal was just rejected this Tuesday, hence the sudden announcement.
Abraham also notes that Wright denied taking any PEDs knowingly and did not inform the Red Sox of his then-pending suspension until last week.
This suspension marks Wright’s second suspension in the last two years, with the first stemming from a domestic assault arrest in December of 2017. He was handed down a 15-game suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence policy last March.
When asked about the suspension, which broke right as the Red Sox were wrapping up a Grapefruit League contest up against the Pittsburgh Pirates, manager Alex Cora voiced as much displeasure as he was allowed to towards his pitcher.
“Obviously disappointed,” Cora said. “We’ll give the player the support that he needs. He’s still part of the organization. That’s all I can say about it.”
When asked about it himself, Wright said, “It’s unfortunate. There’s no easy way to dance around it. It sucks. It’s gonna suck. But at the end of the day, I’ve got to serve the suspension and just move on.”
Wright, 34, will start the season on the restricted list for the second consecutive year. He will be eligible to return to the Red Sox in late June and will be ineligible for the postseason.
Here’s the full statement from the club I mentioned earlier:
“The Boston Red Sox fully support Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing substances from the game. While we are disappointed by the news of this violation, we will look to provide the appropriate support to Steven at this time. Going forward, the club will not comment further on the matter.”