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Prospect Ciuffo suspended for 50 games

Triple-A catcher tested positive a second time for drug of abuse
MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays prospect Nick Ciuffo was suspended by the Office of the Commissioner following a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Ciuffo, who plays catcher and is currently on the Triple-A Durham roster, received a 50-game suspension without pay following a second positive test for a drug of abuse. He ranks as the organization's No. 27 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays prospect Nick Ciuffo was suspended by the Office of the Commissioner following a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Ciuffo, who plays catcher and is currently on the Triple-A Durham roster, received a 50-game suspension without pay following a second positive test for a drug of abuse. He ranks as the organization's No. 27 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

It marks a setback to the Rays' catching depth.

Tampa Bay selected Ciuffo 21st overall in the 2013 Draft. In five Minor League seasons, the 22-year-old has hit .248 with 12 homers and 134 RBIs while playing solid defense. For Double-A Montgomery last season, Ciuffo batted .245 with seven home runs and 42 RBIs.

The Rays took a calculated gamble by not protecting Ciuffo at the Winter Meetings during the Rule 5 Draft, meaning any team could have selected him, but they would have had to keep him on their active Major League roster for the entirety of the 2018 season. The Rays were pleased when no team took him as they view him as a Major League prospect.

"We are disappointed by Nick's actions, and we expect more from our players," Rays general manager Erik Neander said. "We hope that Nick will take this opportunity to reassess his priorities both during Spring Training and once the suspension takes effect."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays, Nick Ciuffo