Seattle Mariners prospect Ji-Man Choi has been suspended 50 games for violating the league’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The first-baseman tested positive for methandienone.
Choi, like all ballplayers do initially, denied taking the drug knowingly and issued the following statement:
“A banned substance was detected in my urine sample,” Choi said. “I do not know what I could have taken that caused me to test positive. I have not and never would knowingly use anything illegal to enhance my performance. However, I also understand that without an explanation I must serve a suspension and I accept that. I look forward to putting this behind me and to returning to help the Mariners ballclub once my suspension has ended.”
Choi started the season in Triple-A Tacoma and was off to a great start hitting .394/.500/.545 through the first 10 games. Choi split time between three levels in 2013 (Class A High Desert, Double-A Jackson and Tacoma) with a combined slash of .295/.394/.535.
Considering the fact that the team has Justin Smoak, it was unclear whether Choi would’ve been called up anytime soon, regardless of how well he was playing. All this effectively does is diminish his trade value and that’s unfortunate.
The Mariners organization released the following statement in response to Choi’s:
“The Seattle Mariners are disappointed to learn of today’s suspension of AAA infielder Ji-Man Choi. The organization fully supports Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing substances from our game. Per the Basic Agreement, the Mariners will have no further comment.”
Choi has been placed on the restricted list, which opens up a spot on the Mariners 40-man roster.