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Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright suspended 80 games

In addition to the 80-game suspension, the knuckleballer will be ineligible for the 2019 playoffs.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Boston Red Sox Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball announced today that Boston Red Sox right-handed pitcher Steven Wright has been suspended for 80 games without pay after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

Here is the official statement from the league:

“The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Boston Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright has received an 80-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide 2 (GHRP-2), a performance-enhancing substance, in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The 80-game suspension of Wright will commence at the start of the 2019 regular season.”

The Red Sox also released a statement regarding Wright’s suspension, mentioning that they are disappointed with his actions, but the knuckleballer has their support:

“The Boston Red Sox fully support Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing substances from the game. While we are disappointed by the news of this violation, we will look to provide the appropriate support to Steven at this time. Going forward, the club will not comment further on the matter.”

This is the second suspension of Wright’s career; he missed the first 15 games of the 2018 season due to a suspension for domestic violence and forfeited $88,709. Wright also released a statement, saying that he was notified of his suspension during the off-season and is shocked with the outcome, as he has never “never intentionally ingested anything for performance-enhancing purposes.”

“I was notified by MLB that I failed a test under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program during the past off-season. Although I do not dispute the validity of the test, I was shocked as I have never intentionally ingested anything for performance-enhancing purposes. I have fully cooperate with MLB and will continue to try and identify the source of the result.”

The suspension also makes Wright ineligible to pitch during the upcoming postseason, should the Red Sox find their way back to the playoffs again after winning the World Series in 2018.

Wright was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the second round of the 2006 MLB Draft and spent the first six years of his career in Cleveland’s system before he was traded to the Red Sox in 2012 in exchange for first baseman Lars Anderson.

Wright, now 34, has played for the Red Sox ever since, receiving a total of more than $2.8 million in salary from the Boston organization.

In 2018, Wright made 16 appearances out of the bullpen and four starts, posting a 3-1 record. Through 53.2 innings, he allowed 17 runs on 41 hits, including five home runs. He also walked 26 batters while striking out 42.

Wright was expected to continue to pitch in relief for the Red Sox going forward, so this suspension is crushing to a team already very weak in the bullpen.