Braves disappointed with McKirahan after his suspension
NEW YORK -- Less than 10 minutes after the Braves completed Sunday's series-clinching victory over the Blue Jays in Toronto, rookie left-handed reliever Andrew McKirahan sobered the celebratory mood by informing his teammates and manager Fredi Gonzalez that he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug and would consequently draw an 80-game suspension from Major League Baseball.
"We won a series in Toronto against a team that is pretty good and it kind of put a little downer on that moment," Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "Whatever he did, he did and it's disappointing."
Disappointment was a common sentiment expressed by Braves players in regard to McKirahan, who drew his 80-game suspension on Monday, when it was announced he had tested positive for Ipamorelin, a performance-enhancing substance, in violation of Major League Baseball Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
McKirahan's positive test was performed in March, while he was still in Spring Training with the Marlins, who had selected him during December's Rule 5 Draft. The Braves claimed the 25-year-old reliever off waivers on April 2 with the expectation that he would be a part of their bullpen throughout this season.
"The thing that bothers you is guys keep trying to beat the system," Gonzalez said. "Andrew was tested during Spring Training, so he wasn't with us. But that doesn't make it right or wrong. You're just getting caught and if you're not smart enough to realize Major League Baseball is serious about this, then you're not real smart."
Along with being suspended until July 8, McKirahan's punishment also prohibits him from any potential postseason appearance this year. His suspension comes just two weeks after another Braves rookie reliever -- Arodys Vizcaino -- also drew a 80-game suspension for testing positive for Stanozolol.
"The reason to do it is the obvious reason, everybody wants to be in the big leagues and sometimes you're on that cusp of things," Braves veteran closer Jason Grilli said. "But knowing what's at stake, blood, sweat and tears to me is the way to go. We have a list of things we can take and if it's not on that list, then don't take it. It's that simple."
McKirahan, who had made three appearances out of Atlanta's bullpen this year, informed his teammates that he believed the positive test came as a result of a cream he applied while battling a dead arm during Spring Training.
"I'm not buying the 'I don't know what I was taking' anymore, because every meeting I've been to or every article or memo I've read has spelled it out plain as day," Gonzalez said. "If it does not says NSF [Certified for Sport] on the back of the [package] then don't take it."