June 16, 2016
For the second time in the first three months of the season, a pitcher on the Phillies 40-man roster has been leveled an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
Right-hander Alec Asher has received the latest half-season suspension without pay, Major League Baseball announced on Thursday afternoon. Just like Rule 5 left-hander Daniel Stumpf, who was suspended while on the Phillies active 25-man roster in April, Asher tested positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, a performance-enhancing substance that is in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
“The Phillies support Major League Baseball’s Joint Prevention and Treatment Program and are disappointed to hear today’s news of Alec’s violation,” read a statement from the Phillies on the news. The statement was a carbon copy of the one the team issued two months ago regarding Stumpf.
A few hours after the news broke, manager Pete Mackanin was asked about it before the Phillies took batting practice on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.
"That was surprising – and disappointing, too," he said. "You hate to see it happen. It's disappointing. He was throwing the ball well."
Asher, 24, was 4-2 with a 2.30 ERA in eight starts between Triple-A Lehigh Valley and Double-A Reading this season. He made seven starts with the Phillies late last season, going 0-6 with a 9.31 ERA.
Asher was considered the fifth-best prospect the Phillies received in the package that sent Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers prior to last July’s trade deadline, arriving with fellow right-handers Jake Thompson and Jerad Eickhoff, catcher Jorge Alfaro, outfielder Nick Williams, and left-handed (salary dump) Matt Harrison. Harrison has been unable to pitch since his arrival due to a chronic back injury.
Stumpf, who was suspended on April 14, is eligible to rejoin the Phillies in 3 1/2 weeks, on July 10. Per Rule 5 rules, Stumpf only has to stick on the active roster through Aug. 31 to stay in the organization beyond this season.
Stumpf, Asher, and Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Chris Colabello have all been suspended in the first three months of the season after testing positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, an anabolic steroid that first gained notoriety as the PED of choice for the Eastern German Olympic team 40 years ago.
"I don't know if they were aware of (taking it) or not," Mackanin said of his two pitchers. "They say they weren't. So I take them at their word. But it's not just our organization."
• In other minor league Phillies news from Thursday: outfielder prospect Roman Quinn was placed on the 7-day disabled list at Double-A Reading with a left oblique strain. Quinn, 23, had played in just one game since June 4 while previously out with a hamstring injury.
The Phillies second round pick in the 2011 draft, Quinn has yet to play in more than 88 games in any of his five seasons in the organization because of a variety of injuries. He’s averaged 73 games in each of the last two seasons.
Quinn was hitting .288 with a .361 OBP, 10 doubles, four triples, three home runs and was 25-for-31 in stolen base attempts in 50 games at Reading this season.
• Cornelius Randolph, who has been sidelined with an injury in his upper back since April 22, should return to the field by the end of the month, according to Phillies player development director Joe Jordan. Randolph, the Phillies first-round pick (10th overall) in 2015, was hitting .240 with one home run and two doubles in 12 games with Low-A Lakewood before being shut down.
Jordan said Randolph has been slowing coming along, but that there wasn't any reason to believe he would be unable to play for the final two months of the minor league season and then catch up in at-bats this fall (likely in instructional league play).
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