A's outfielder Ramón Laureano has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball due to a positive PED test. The league's press release reads as follows:
The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Oakland Athletics outfielder Ramón Laureano has received an 80-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Nandrolone, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
The suspension of Laureano is effective immediately.
The A's released a statement of their own:
"The A's were disappointed to learn of this suspension. We fully support MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and we will welcome Ramón back after the discipline has been served."
Laureano, 27, is hitting .246/.317/.443 (112 OPS+) with 21 doubles, two triples, 14 homers, 39 RBI, 12 steals, 43 runs and 2.4 WAR on the season. The A's don't have 80 games left this season, so the suspension will bleed into 2022. He's also ineligible for any playoff games the A's might have. Laureano has released the following statement:
"I would never knowingly ingest any banned substance and put the game that I've loved all my life at risk. When I found out that I tested positive for nandrolone, I was shocked. I take great care of my body and have an extremely regimented diet. Basd on the minuscule amount that was briefly in my body, I've learned that it is likely that it was contamination of something I ingested."
"I have been educated about PEDs through the RBI program and Baseball Factory while growing up. I know I don't need any of that to perform on the baseball field. All my athletic success has come from my hard work, focus and dedication to the game."
"I'd like to apologize for the distraction that this might cause my teammate, Billy Beane, David Forst, and the entire Oakland organization, community and fan base."
"I am devastated. Anyone who truly knows me as a person knows how much I love the game and that I would never intentionally do something like this."
Announcements like this happen after the appeals process, so it's likely the A's already had an idea this was coming. They acquired Starling Marte before the trade deadline and have been playing him in center field, a move that shifted Laureano to right field. Marte's acquisition becomes an even bigger deal than it already was in light of this news. He's hit .360/.429/.520 with five steals in his six games with the A's so far.
The A's now need a new right fielder, though. Stephen Piscotty could fill the role but he's having a woeful year with the bat. Josh Harrison could fill in out there, as could Tony Kemp. Chad Pinder could be an option once he's recovered from his hamstring injury as well.
The A's enter Friday night 61-48, four games back of the Astros in the AL West. They hold down the second AL wild card spot, with only a 1 1/2 game lead over the Yankees, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Blue Jays and 3 1/2 ahead of the Mariners. The begin a three-game series against the last-place Rangers Friday in Oakland.