Drew Maggi, an offseason addition by the Cleveland Indians who was slated to start the season at Triple-A Columbus, will instead miss the first 50 games of the 2018 regular season for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, the commissioner’s office announced on Wednesday night.
Maggi was one of four players, including 26-year-old Reds pitcher Joel Bender, 17-year-old Cardinals pitcher Nathanael Heredia, and 26-year-old free agent catcher Justin O’Conner, who were docked games for failed tests. Maggi and Bender will each miss 50 games for positive tests for amphetamine while O’Conner, when he signs with a club, will miss 50 for testing positive twice for drugs of abuse. Heredia’s failed test for the performance enhancer stanozolol will cost him 72 games of the minor league schedule.
The 28-year-old Maggi, signed by the Indians to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training this year, spent a lot of time on the field for the Tribe during spring training when he appeared in the second-most games (25) of any player in camp. He put up good numbers in his extended look, hitting .342 with a .432 on-base percentage with three doubles, a triple, and four RBI. He was also tied for second on the team in steals with three. He worked extensively at second base for the Indians during the spring and also logged some time at third base. He was expected to be a utility option at Triple-A Columbus to start the season.
Maggi entered the pro game in 2010 when he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was released in the spring of 2015 and signed with the Los Angeles Angels, spending one year with the club before joining the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. He was a member of their farm system for the last two years and played last season with their Triple-A affiliate at Oklahoma City, slashing .271/.367/.392 in 84 games. He missed time during two separate disabled list trips.
Maggi becomes the second Indians farmhand to receive a suspension in the new year. Twenty-year-old Carlos Ventura, an outfielder with the Dominican Summer League Indians, received a 72-game suspension on February 16 for a positive test for Stanozolol. Additionally, former Indians pitcher Thomas Pannone, traded last season to Toronto for reliever Joe Smith, was suspended for 80 games for a positive test for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone this offseason.
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