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Orioles pitcher Harvey suspended 60 games by MLB for drug distribution

Written by on May 18, 2022


Baltimore Orioles pitcher Matt Harvey was suspended for 60 games by Major League Baseball on Tuesday for distributing a prohibited drug of abuse, a punishment stemming from his admission of providing opioids to a teammate who fatally overdosed.

The former New York Mets star also admitted in February during a federal trial in Texas stemming from Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs’ death that he used cocaine while in New York and California.

Harvey, a 33-year-old right-hander, agreed last month to a minor league contract with the Orioles that called for a $150,000 US salary while in the minor leagues, a $1 million salary while in the major leagues and a $500,000 assignment bonus if traded while under a major league contract. He has been working out at Baltimore’s extended spring training facility and has not pitched in any games.

During the trial of former Los Angeles Angels employee Eric Kay, Harvey, pitchers Mike Morin and Cam Bedrosian and first baseman C.J. Cron testified and described recreational drug use allegedly going on in and around the Angels when they played for the team.

After saying he was subpoenaed and testifying only because he had immunity from prosecution, Harvey acknowledged being a cocaine user before and during his season with the Angels in 2019. He said he tried oxycodone provided by pitcher Tyler Skaggs during his season with the Angels and also provided drugs to Skaggs.

Skaggs was found dead in a suburban Dallas hotel room on July 1, 2019, a day the Angels were supposed to open a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. Kay was convicted on one count each of drug distribution resulting in death and drug conspiracy. He faces at least 20 years and up to life in prison when he is sentenced on June 28.

Nicknamed the Dark Knight of Gotham, Harvey was selected seventh overall by the Mets in the 2010 amateur draft and made a heralded major league debut in 2012. He started the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field but a little more than a month later tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow and needed Tommy John surgery.

Harvey returned in 2015 and went 13-8, helping the Mets reach the World Series, where he talked manager Terry Collins into letting him take the mound with a two-run ninth-inning lead against Kansas City in Game 5. Harvey walked Lorenzo Cain and allowed an RBI double to Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez hit a tying groundout off Jeurys Familia and the Royals went on to a 12th-inning win that gave them the title.

Harvey was traded to Cincinnati in May 2018 and pitched for the Angels in 2019, Kansas City in 2020 and Baltimore last year, when he was 6-14 with a 6.27 ERA. He has a 50-66 career record with a 4.42 ERA in nine major league seasons.

Brewers pitcher Mejia suspended 80 games

Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia was suspended for 80 games on Tuesday following a positive test for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol, the second Brewers player disciplined this season under Major League Baseball’s drug program.

A 25-year-old right-hander acquired from Cleveland in November, Mejia had a 23.14 ERA during a pair of relief appearances for the Brewers on May 11 and 14. He had a 0.84 ERA in nine games with Triple-A Nashville.

Stanozolol is a synthetic steroid derived from testosterone.

Mejia made his major league debut with the Indians on May 21 last year and went 1-7 with a 8.25 ERA in 11 starts and six relief appearances.

He was placed on the restricted list Tuesday and will lose about half his salary. His contract calls for him to earn $701,900 while in the major leagues and $160,800 while in the minors.

Milwaukee replaced Mejia by selecting the contract of right-hander Trevor Kelley from Triple-A Nashville.

Mejia and Baltimore pitcher Matt Harvey, who also was suspended on Tuesday, raised to six the number of players suspended this year under the major league drug program.

Brewers catcher Pedro Severino was suspended for 80 games on April 5 following a positive test for the performance-enhancing substance Clomiphene, a women’s fertility drug used by some athletes to counter side effects of steroids use.

Three free agents were suspended a day earlier for 80 games following positive tests for Boldenone: outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon. Those were the first suspensions since the major league drug testing program resumed March 11 following a 99-day suspension during the lockout.