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Two Nationals minor leaguers suspended

Two Nationals minor leaguers, third baseman Steven Souza and outfielder J.R. Higley, both members of Class A Hagerstown, have been suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, according to a release from the league.

Both tested positive for methylphenidate and ritalinic acid - commonly known as Ritalin, a drug used to treat ADHD that can increase focus and energy level. The suspensions are effective immediately.

Souza (hitting .231 with 11 home runs) and Higley (.233, two home runs) became the second and third Nationals minor leaguers to be given a suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. Class AAA Syracuse second baseman Seth Bynum sat out 50 games this year after testing positive and receiving a suspension in mid-May.

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 15, 2010; 7:47 PM ET
Categories:  minors & farm system  
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Comments

While this story reports the facts, it fails to provide some significant insight into why these players were suspended. Is Ritalin a banned substance in professional baseball, even when it is medically necessary and prescribed? Were these two individuals using this controlled substance illegally? The answers to these questions are potentially meaningful and their absence does a disservice to the readers and possbily to the individuals involved.

Posted by: kenkeller48 | July 15, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

While this story reports the facts, it fails to provide some significant insight into why these players were suspended. Is Ritalin a banned substance in professional baseball, even when it is medically necessary and prescribed? Were these two individuals using this controlled substance illegally? There are many people in our society who suffer from attention deficit and are enabled to lead normal, productive lives because they have access to legally prescribed medications. The answers to these questions are potentially meaningful and their absence does a disservice to the readers and possibly to the individuals involved.

Posted by: kenkeller48 | July 15, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure that the agreement with the players that enables baseball to test players also ensures confidentiality regarding the drugs used.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 15, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps some insight as to WHY Votto had to be voted in by the fans ...
http://tinyurl.com/35k9xm7

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 15, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

basically glorified greenies, but it starts to look bad that the coaches didn't notice, at some point.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 15, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't aware of Souza - Higley reportedly got popped for switching meds from Adderall (that he had a waiver for) to Concerta (which he didn't).

Posted by: BinM | July 15, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Sec3(sofa):
Maybe more on the trainer & Manager than on the coaches in this case, but do they really dig deep in the minors? It seems like a player or two still is still getting called out & suspended every week or so.

Posted by: BinM | July 15, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Souza (hitting .231 with 11 home runs) and Higley (.233, two home runs).....

Lot of good it did....

Posted by: TimDz | July 15, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

"Zendo is designed for three to six players. One is the Master and the others are Students."

Zendo, you are already breaking the rules, there are more than 3 to 6 players here. So, perhaps you should pack up your koans and try a smaller venue?

Posted by: periculum | July 15, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about these particular individuals, but I can easily imagine a guy hitting about one hit a month over the Mendoza line in A ball thinking "What have I got to lose? I'm not getting out of the bus league at this rate."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 15, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

The same thing happened to Stephen King and many others sec3mysofa. It doesn't enhance your performance athletically. In fact it might actually debilitate with use over long periods of time.

Scott Olsen also uses an AD/HD drug. As does Adam Kennedy. It has been proven to increase soldiers' focus and awareness in combat situations. Many psychiatrists consider it the best drug for managing AD/HD. It is also a stimulant. It is also legal. And its called nicotine.

Posted by: periculum | July 15, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

It is utterly ridiculous to suspend players for using Ritalin or any other non-steroid, prescribed drug.

The potential collapse of Mexico and our futility in Afghanistan are a direct result of insane U.S. drug laws and policies, to which MLB's sanctions just contribute.

My apologies for bringing what may seem like a political issue here, but it shouldn't be.

Posted by: nats24 | July 16, 2010 2:10 AM | Report abuse

Full article from Newsweek at http://www.newsweek.com/2008/02/05/baseball-s-other-drug-problem.html

As Major League Baseball begins to dig out from its steroids scandal, new kinds of performance-enhancing substances are sweeping big-league clubhouses: Ritalin, Adderall and other drugs designed to help with Attention-Deficit Disorder. According to records MLB officials turned over to congressional investigators as part of George Mitchell's probe into steroid use in baseball, the number of players getting "therapeutic use exemptions" from baseball's amphetamines ban jumped in one year from 28 to 103—which means that, suddenly, 7.6 percent of the 1,354 players on major-league rosters had been diagnosed with ADD.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 16, 2010 2:46 AM | Report abuse

See also (as I posted to Goessling's MASN blog the other day):

Also, with the banning of stimulants, there seems to have been an outbreak of ADHD cases in MLB. hmmm...

http://www.slate.com/id/2208429

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3822193

Oh, and nats24: walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc. Speaking for myself in re. the political discussion, not gonna go there...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 16, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

"Also, with the banning of stimulants, there seems to have been an outbreak of ADHD cases in MLB. hmmm..."

"the number of players getting "therapeutic use exemptions" from baseball's amphetamines ban jumped in one year from 28 to 103—which means that, suddenly, 7.6 percent of the 1,354 players on major-league rosters had been diagnosed with ADD."

That figure is actually believable. Look Sunderland, let me know when they ban nicotine: smoking, chaw. Nicotine is also a stimulant and also has the same, in fact a BETTER effect as Adderall, Ritalin, etc. It too is a stimulant. The risk of cancer and the debilitating effect smoking can have on an athlete's lungs may be once reason ... and chaw is a pretty gross thing to put in your mouth for hours.

The desire to have laser beam focus, to be constantly "on alert" can definitely help a baseball player ... or a soldier.

Let's calculate the percentage of combat soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan who SMOKE shall we?

LET ME KNOW when the suspend Kennedy and Olsen.

Posted by: periculum | July 16, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

And not a new point, but still a relevant one: substances that might (or might not) improve performance, are legal, but might be/are harmful. Obviously smoking is bad, but it's not banned. Adderal isn't exactly health food, either, but then neither is ibuprofin--most of that stuff eats your liver alive, especially if you drink a bit. Which is the other issue: performance-debilitating drugs. If you're going to ban stuff, wouldn't it make more sense to ban things that can keep you from doing what you're getting paid for, rather than the other way around?
I'd say "Don't get me started" but it's clearly too late for that.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 16, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

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