Major League Baseball announced on Friday afternoon that Orioles reliever Troy Patton has been suspended 25 games for testing positive for an amphetamine.
While steroids are what receive the big focus when discussing performance-enhancing drugs and what effects they might have, the removal of "greenies" from the game is something that has also had an effect. Players could not rely on those drugs to stay alert and with energy as a long season wore on.
Patton being suspended for the undisclosed drug means that this is his second positive test. The first test results in additional testing and is generally not made public. The suspension, which will be without pay, will take place starting with the first game of the 2014 season. Patton will miss about 15% of the season, which means he'll lose in the realm of $135,000 of his projected $1.2 million salary.
The suspension will open up the competition for left-handed relievers in the O's bullpen, and it's possible that there will be someone ensconced by the time Patton returns from his suspension. New acquisition Kelvin de la Cruz in particular will have more of a chance to make the club out of spring training, along with other established Orioles like T.J. McFarland and Zach Britton. There's also Chris Jones and Mike Belfiore.
Patton was a key part of the excellent 2012 bullpen, pitching to a 2.43 ERA over 55.2 innings that season with a 1.024 WHIP. As with the bullpen in general, he was less good in 2013: 56 innings with an ERA that grew to 3.70 and a WHIP up to 1.304. Though he got enough of a vote of confidence in being tendered a contract, he may have found himself getting squeezed out even without the suspension.
In the last several years, he has now had a DUI, a broken ankle that came from falling down the stairs, and two positive tests for amphetamines. In all seriousness, hopefully he is able to get things straightened out with his life.