Twins' right-hander Ervin Santana has been suspended 80 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, according to a league announcement. Santana tested positive for Stanozolol, according to the league.
Santana issued a statement shortly after the suspension was announced.
"Ever since I was a child I always had to work harder than everyone," Santana, a native of the Dominican Republic, said in a statement. "Not too many people believed I could become a major leaguer. I worked hard to achieve everything I accomplished and I take pride in proving that through hard work dreams can come true.
"I would never put baseball, my family, or my country in a position where its integrity is jeopardized. I preach hard work, and don't believe in short cuts. I am very disappointed that I tested positive for a performance enhancing drug. I am frustrated that I can't pinpoint how the substance in question entered my body. I would never knowingly take anything illegal to enhance my performance. What I can guarantee is I never knowingly took anything illegal to enhance my performance. That's just not me, never has been and never will.
"Moving forward, I need to be more careful on what I consume in my home country, I will be more vigilant of medications I take so that I don't commit another mistake. Having said that, I believe it is best to move forward and accept the punishment that has been negotiated by MLB and MLBPA for my positive PED test. This is unexpected news for me and my family. I am issuing this statement so the public knows where I stand. My deepest apologies to my family, fans, colleagues, teammates and my current employer the Minnesota Twins. All I can do now is continue to work hard, and when the suspension is up, come back to doing what I love."
Santana, 32, signed a four-year, $54 million contract with the Twins during the Winter Meetings and was supposed to stabilize a young rotation along with veteran righty Phil Hughes, who also received a long-term commitment from Minnesota this winter. Santana will instead be sidelined for the first half of the season, with Mike Pelfrey likely to step in and pitch in his place along with Hughes, Kyle Gibson, Ricky Nolasco and Tommy Milone in the Twins' rotation. Minnesota will save roughly $6.5 million due to the suspension, but they seem unlikely to add a starter due young arms like Trevor May and Alex Meyer available in the minor leagues.
Santana pitched well in spring training, allowing just four earned runs on fourteen hits in 19 innings of work while striking out twelve.