Perez receives 80-game ban
Tigers infielder suspended for third positive test for stimulants
DETROIT -- The only player suspended under Major League Baseball's new drug testing program for stimulants has now been suspended again. Tigers infielder Neifi Perez received his second such sentence in a month, this one an 80-game suspension for another positive test.
The suspension will go into effect Saturday, right when his previous 25-game suspension was about to expire. That suspension came down July 6. This one will keep Perez out for the rest of the season and into next, thus likely ending Perez's career as a Tiger. He is in the final season of a contract he signed before the Tigers acquired him last summer. Because the suspensions are without pay, he will forgo about half of the $2.5 million salary he was set to make this season.
Stimulants were added to MLB's testing program last year in an effort to stop player use of such substances as amphetamines, or "greenies." A first positive test does not trigger a suspension and is kept private, even from the club, but the player can be tested up to six more times without advance notice over the next 12 months.
The latest discipline means Perez tested positive for stimulants for the third time under the MLB program. Under rules of the current collective bargaining agreement, a player cannot be suspended multiple times for positive tests resulting from the same incident of using a banned substance. However, it was not known when Perez was tested again.
A fourth positive test would result in an indefinite ban, subject to the Commissioner's discretion over whether and when to let him back into the sport.
Exactly how much the Tigers lost with another suspension to Perez is debatable, other than another infielder who can play shortstop. When Perez was suspended last month, the Tigers called up Ryan Raburn, who has performed well in a utility outfield role while also capable of playing second and third base. It was not known as of Friday whether or not Perez was in Detroit.
The Tigers were looking on the trade market for utility infielders as the July 31 trade deadline approached, even though Perez would've been soon available before the second suspension. The 34-year-old's season ends with a .172 average (11-for-64), one home run, three doubles and six RBIs in 33 games, filling in at times for starting shortstop Carlos Guillen. His value was more from a defensive standpoint, including a key double play to preserve Justin Verlander's no-hitter in June.
Tigers players, as well as manager Jim Leyland, declined to comment on the suspension.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.