Whenever a player gets suspended for use of banned drugs, as Chris Davis now has been, there are often more questions than answers. One big question about the Davis suspension revolves around MLB's Therapeutic Use Exemption for drugs such as Adderall. Reportedly, Davis was on the list of players granted a TUE in a 2012-2013 report on the program, but he did not seek a TUE for the 2014 season, according to the Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly. Why?
One possible answer to that question comes from WBAL Radio's Brett Hollander, who reported that MLB has been canceling these exemptions in recent years. If that's the case, that sounds like a sign that MLB thinks it's been overly generous in allowing players those exemptions. There's probably at least one player who has gotten one who has had no business getting one. Deciding whose use of a drug like Adderall is "legitimate" and whose isn't is getting onto shaky ground, but MLB's probably better equipped for figuring it out than you or I.
It may be that Davis didn't seek a TUE for 2014 because he was told in an informal capacity that his exemption would not continue to be granted. It may be that he's committed the drug testing equivalent of "I forgot my homework on the kitchen table," which, of course, nobody would actually believe, just like your teacher probably never believed it either back in your school days.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported that Davis did not have a TUE for 2013 either. UPDATE: 2:30pm Connolly further reported that Davis did not have a TUE for any of the 2012-2014 seasons.
As to the idea that he might have forgotten, it stretches credibility that a player could make a careless mistake for this sort of thing with what is at stake with any player's career, especially a player like Davis, who is approaching the big payday of his career with free agency after next season. You would think that if he really needed Adderall to function due to having some sort of ADD, he would not have failed to seek an exemption, even if MLB might have still denied the exemption.
One other thing to remember is that a player is only suspended for a drug like Adderall after the second positive test. This is not on the 50/100/lifetime ban continuum of steroids. The first positive test, which we do not know when it occurred, only triggers additional testing. So whatever Davis was taking, he took it knowing that he'd failed a test before and would be getting more testing.
Over the offseason, former Orioles reliever Troy Patton received the same suspension. He had reportedly failed his first test during spring training in 2010. Patton's suspension was announced in December; he said that it was the end of the season that he took the drug and that he was stupid to take it. In Patton's case, he did seek an exemption but was denied. It's possible that Davis' first positive test could have come before he was even in the O's organization, or before he'd broken out with 53 home runs last year.
It's been a struggle of a year for Davis. Was this something where he thought he could get an extra edge for the stretch run and perhaps he wouldn't get tested again for the drug this year? We also don't know when the second positive test occurred, but it's one possible scenario that fits what we know so far.
Whatever the reason that Davis took what he took, he's now out for 25 games. He will miss out on an approximate $1 million in salary for this suspension and will not be eligible to return until at least the ALCS, should the Orioles make it that far into the postseason. They've gotten by without him before, and now they'll have to get by without him again.