Chris Davis suspended 25 games for positive amphetamine test
Orioles slugger Chris Davis has been suspended for 25 games for testing positive for amphetamines.
Orioles slugger Chris Davis has been suspended for 25 games by Major League Baseball for testing positive for amphetamines, the league announced Friday morning. The suspension includes the postseason.
The Orioles have 17 games left and appear headed to the AL East crown with ease, so the suspension will bleed into at least the ALDS. Should the Orioles play more than eight postseason games, Davis will again be eligible.
If not, Davis' suspension could be resumed next season until his 25 games are complete.
Davis' ban here isn't part of the performance-enhancing drug punishment, which is now 80 games for a first offense, a full season for a second offense and a lifetime ban for a third. Amphetamines, stimulants that were readily available in MLB clubhouses in 1960s-1980s, are covered separately.
Davis has released the following statement:
"I apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Orioles organization and especially the fans. I made a mistake by taking Adderall. I had permission to use it in the past, but do not have a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) this year. I accept my punishment and will begin serving my suspension immediately."
Having a TUE for Adderall isn't uncommon by any stretch. Following last season, MLB revealed that 119 players were allowed to use Adderall. So while I know there are tons of fans ready to scream "gotcha!" and treat this like steroids -- given Davis' power surge last season -- he could pretty easily be telling the truth. He could also have been using the same substance used to treat ADHD in 119 players last season (probably including himself).
Davis, 28, ends the 2014 regular season hitting .196/.300/.404 (97 OPS+) with 26 homers and 72 RBI. Last season was his career year, as he hit .286/.370/.634 (168 OPS+) with 42 doubles, 53 homers and 138 RBI -- the latter two categories were the best in the majors, too. He finished third in AL MVP voting.
Despite the low batting average, removing Davis from a lineup that already lost Manny Machado and Matt Wieters is a huge blow. Kelly Johnson and Jimmy Paredes are most likely to see an uptick in playing time, though Ryan Flaherty is also in the mix. Cleanup hitter Nelson Cruz's protection is now either Steve Pearce or J.J. Hardy.
So, yes, this hurts Baltimore in the short run. They do have a 10-game lead in the AL East, so the biggest impact comes at playoff time.