Nats' Read suspended 80 games for PED use

February 7th, 2018

WASHINGTON -- Nationals catcher has been suspended for 80 games for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Read tested positive for Boldenone, a performance-enhancing drug, and his suspension will take effect at the beginning of the 2018 regular season.

The suspension marks the first time a player on the Nationals' 40-man roster has been suspended for a performance-enhancing substance since the program began in 2005, although they have had a handful of Minor Leaguers suspended in the past.

"This is a very serious matter -- one that I do not take lightly," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. "We educate players across our system on the program and set the expectation that they fully abide by it. I am deeply disappointed in Raudy. I have spoken with him directly and he understands that he is ultimately responsible for what he puts into his body. In the end, I hope he learns from this experience."

Read, the club's No. 14 prospect as rated by MLB Pipeline, denied ever knowingly taking a banned substance in a statement released by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

"I have been extremely careful and conscious about what I put into my body," Read said in a statement. "I don't take supplements or anything else on top of my regular diet, which consists simply of chicken, beef, rice and vegetables. So when I heard I tested positive during a routine drug test this winter, I was shocked.

"I was convinced there had to be a mistake, and I thought I'd be OK. I hadn't used anything. So I fought this on appeal, explaining that I had no idea how this positive test could have possibly happened. But without being able to identify the source causing the positive test, I could not prevail."

The Nationals signed Read, 24, out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 and he made his Major League debut during the 2017 season. He played eight games for Washington as a September callup and the Nats are encouraged by his ability as a hitter. And with the team searching for more production from its catchers this season, there was a chance Read could have earned some playing time in the Majors this season as well.

The team considered him one of its catchers of the future in the organization, but this suspension could be a setback in his progression. 

"I'm very disappointed and frustrated with this outcome," Read said in the statement. "I know I have let many people down, including my teammates, coaches, family and fans. And I am so sorry to you all for hearing the news of my suspension. This does not reflect who I am as an athlete, or as a person.

"I will do whatever I can to clear my name. My work ethic and dedication to the game has never been higher. I will utilize this time away to train at the most elite level, while working to regain the trust of MLB, the Washington Nationals' front office, coaches, teammates, and fans."