|Singleton has failed a drug test and will serve a suspension. (Getty Images)|
Highly touted Houston Astros prospect Jonathan Singleton has been suspended for the first 50 games of the 2013 season after violating the minor-league baseball drug policy. ESPN.com, which first reported the suspension, has acquired the following statement from Singleton:
"I was informed today that I have tested positive for marijuana. As a result, I am being suspended for the first 50 games of the 2013 season. I accept the penalty and take full responsibility for my actions. I apologize to my parents, the Houston Astros and [general manager] Jeff Luhnow.
"The Astros have been nothing but supportive of me and good to me in my short time with the organization. My hope is to use this as a learning experience and spend the rest of my career proving to myself and the baseball community that this was a lapse in judgment, and is not in any way indicative of my character or my dedication to baseball or to my team.''
This suspension won't directly affect the Astros on the field in 2013, as Singleton was in Double-A last season and is still in the process of developing. In terms of said development, though, this is a huge blow. Singleton is only 21 years old and missing a third of the season where he's likely to hit Triple-A will stunt his growth as a player this coming season.
“We learned today that Jonathan Singleton has tested positive for a drug of abuse and has been suspended 50 games as a result," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said in a statement. "We are disappointed in the decisions that Jonathan made leading up to this positive test. Jonathan has expressed regret for his decision and we expect will take the necessary steps to ensure this doesn't happen again. He has owned up to his actions and that is a necessary first step. The Astros will support Jonathan through this difficult time and we hope this example will prevent other athletes from making similar decisions.”
Singleton, a first baseman, was ranked by Baseball America as the Astros' second-best prospect after 2012 No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa. In 131 Double-A games last season, Singleton hit .284/.396/.497 with 21 homers, 79 RBI, 94 runs and 27 doubles.
If things go well in 2013, Singleton will probably have a shot at becoming the Astros' starter at first base sometime in 2014. He's not off to a good start.