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Cubs prospect David Garner suspended 50 games

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The right-hander tested positive a second time for a “drug of abuse.”

MLB: Chicago Cubs-Media Day Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Major league baseball announced that four minor league players were suspended for 50 games “following their violations of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.”

Among those four players is Cubs right-handed reliever David Garner, who was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training this year.

Garner, 25, was a seventh-round pick of the Cubs in 2013 and he’s slowly worked his way up the system since then. Last year, he went 2-2 with a 2.61 ERA in 26 games in Tennessee before he was promoted to Iowa in August. Pitching the final month of the season in Des Moines, Garner was 2-1 with two saves and a 4.73 ERA in nine games. He had made four appearances in Spring Training this year, allowing four runs over 3.2 innings.

As evidenced by his NRI, Garner was considered someone who had a chance to pitch in the majors sometime this season. That’s still true, but his development has now been set back 50 games.

It should be stressed that this is not a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, but rather for illegal “street” drugs such as marijuana or cocaine, although MLB does not reveal the actual drug that the player tested positive for. No penalties are leveled until a player tests positive a second time, so let’s hope that Garner receives help for whatever problem he has.

The other three minor-league players suspended were Red Sox catcher Oscar Hernandez, Cardinals right-handed pitcher Matt Pearce and Pirates shortstop Andrew Walker.