05/01/12 5:19 PM ET
Former top pick Beckham suspended 50 games
By Evan Drellich / MLB.com
"I regret that my poor judgment resulted in me letting my teammates and the Tampa Bay Rays organization down," Beckham said in a statement released by the Rays. "I take full responsibility for my actions and I will use this experience to refocus my commitment to baseball. I recognize that I am blessed to be able to play baseball for a living. I owe it to my teammates, my family, and to myself to respect the game and the responsibilities that go with playing it as a professional. I am sorry."
Beckham, 22, was hitting .204 in 13 games for the Rays' Triple-A team, Durham. Beckham was drafted by the Rays out of high school in Griffin, Ga., and was considered one of the best talents eligible for the Draft in '08.
"We are very disappointed by Tim's actions," Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. "Tim possesses great potential, and he must rededicate himself in order to become the person and player we know he can be."
Beckham, who was in big league camp during Spring Training, hit .271 with 12 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A last season. His signing bonus was for $6.15 million.
Pedro Alvarez (second, Pittsburgh), Eric Hosmer (third, Kansas City), Buster Posey (fifth, San Francisco), Justin Smoak (11th, Texas) and Brett Lawrie (16th, Milwaukee) are some of the players in the Majors drafted in the first round after Beckham was selected.
Another former top overall pick in the Rays organization has also run into off-the-field trouble this year. Matt Bush, a converted reliever who was drafted No. 1 by the Padres as a shortstop in 2004, is dealing with court proceedings stemming from DUI and hit-and-run charges.