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Minor Leaguer Escalona suspended 50 games

Pitcher in Astros system agrees to ban as result of Biogenesis investigation

HOUSTON -- Astros Minor Leaguer Sergio Escalona, a left-handed reliever with Double-A Corpus Christi, was suspended 50 games on Monday by Major League Baseball for violation of the Basic Agreement and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program in relation to the Biogenesis investigation.

MLB on Monday suspended 13 players as a result of the league's Biogenesis investigation. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez received the stiffest penalty -- a 211-game ban without pay through the end of the 2014 regular season. Rodriguez, 38, has appealed the suspension, which was to begin Thursday. His case will be heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. Rodriguez's discipline, MLB said in its written announcement, is based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone, over the course of multiple years. Rodriguez's discipline under the basic agreement is for attempting to cover up his violations of the program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to "obstruct and frustrate" the investigation.

The other players who were handed 50-game suspensions include Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo and recently demoted Mets utilityman Jordany Valdespin. Minor Leaguers Fernando Martinez, Jordan Norberto, Fautino de los Santos, Cesar Puello and Escalona were also suspended.

Escalona was 1-2 with a 6.60 ERA over 15 innings of work this season, accruing one save in 12 appearances.

He missed all of 2012 due to injury but posted a solid 2.93 ERA with a 2-1 record in 49 games with the Astros back in 2011.

"We were disappointed to learn of the involvement of Sergio Escalona in relation to this matter for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program," the Astros said in a news release. "We fully support Major League Baseball's policy and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing substances from our game. Per the protocol outlined in the Joint Drug Program, the Astros will not comment further on this matter."

Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for
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