Major League Baseball announced performance-enhancing drug-related suspensions for three free agents on Monday: right-hander Richard Rodríguez and infielders Danny Santana and José Rondón. As well, Brewers catcher Pedro Severino has been disciplined for a similar offense. The three free agents were banned for 80 games after testing positive for the substance Boldenone, "an anabolic androgenic steroid and synthetic derivative of testosterone that was originally developed for veterinary use but has since become one of the more common performance-enhancing drugs that athletes test positive for in sport," according to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
As for Severino, he also received an 80-game bad, but it was for Clomiphene, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
Severino released the following statement in response to the suspension:
Severino, 28, had been signed by Milwaukee this offseason to serve as the primary backup to Omar Narváez. Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns has indicated he's looking for a replacement via trade and within the pool of remaining free agents.
Rodríguez, 32, split last season between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Atlanta Braves. Overall, he amassed a 2.94 ERA (148 ERA+) and a 4.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Unfortunately for Rodríguez, his performance cratered in other ways following a midseason trade to Atlanta. In 26 innings with the eventual World Series champions, he struck out just 3.1 batters per nine. It's worth noting that, if only by coincidence, Rodríguez's descent seemed to coincide with MLB's crackdown on grip enhancers.
Santana, 31, spent last year with the Boston Red Sox. He appeared in 38 games, accumulating a .181/.252/.345 (57 OPS+) slash line with five home runs and four steals. Santana, a versatile defender, has enjoyed limited success during his big-league career, posting an OPS+ north of 100 on two occasions: in 2013, his rookie year, and then again in 2019, when he was an above-average player for the Texas Rangers.
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Rondón, 28, was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2021. He notched 90 plate appearances across 63 games, hitting .263/.322/.413 (104 OPS+) with three home runs and two stolen bases. Rondón had previously appeared in games with the San Diego Padres, Chicago White Sox, and Baltimore Orioles.