Santiago suspended 80 games for PEDs

July 30th, 2021

SEATTLE -- Héctor Santiago was suspended 80 games without pay Thursday after testing positive for exogenous testosterone, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of Major League Baseball’s joint drug and prevention treatment program. The Mariners left-hander will not appeal.

Santiago, 33, released the following statement:

“Today, I have accepted an 80-game suspension imposed by Major League Baseball. Recently, I was notified that I had tested positive for testosterone. In 2020, while I was not on the roster of an MLB club, I consulted a licensed physician in Puerto Rico who diagnosed me with a condition and recommended hormonal replacement therapy.

“Because I did not play in 2020, I did not consider that this therapy could ultimately lead to a positive test under MLB’s joint drug program. That said, I alone am responsible for what I put in my body, and I was not careful. Therefore, I have decided to forgo my right to an appeal in this matter and accept the suspension. I apologize for any harm this has caused the Seattle Mariners, Mariners’ fans, my teammates, and most importantly, my family.”

Santiago had just returned from a 10-game suspension Tuesday for using a grip-enhancing substance while pitching in a June 27 game in Chicago against the White Sox, a sanction that he appealed and lost. The Mariners missed him in his stead, and they will now look to replace his multi-inning ability elsewhere over the final two months of the regular season.

Earlier Thursday, the Mariners acquired right-hander Diego Castillo from the Rays to fill the role vacated by closer Kendall Graveman, who was dealt to Houston on Tuesday. But they also subtracted leverage arm JT Chargois via the Tampa Bay deal, so they will now look to shore up their eight-man unit with another arm as they look to remain in the postseason hunt, just two games back of the second American League Wild Card heading into Friday’s 1 p.m. PT Trade Deadline.

It’s unlikely that general manager Jerry Dipoto will look to the trade market for a leverage arm to replace Santiago the way he replaced Graveman with Castillo. There are pieces at Triple-A Tacoma, but the depth is not as robust as it was earlier this season. Santiago, who is in his 10th big league season, opened the year with Tacoma after signing with Seattle five days before Tacoma’s regular-season opener on May 6.