Santiago suspended again

Just days after his return from a possibly unfounded suspension for using an alleged foreign substance on the baseball, Mariner relief pitcher Hector Santiago has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball for using a performance-enhancing drug.

The veteran southpaw tested positive for exogenous testosterone, which is used by some athletes as an aid in muscle-building and endurance and prohibited by the MLB Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program negotiated by the Commissioner's office and the players' union. The penalty is an 80-game suspension without pay, the same as when Robinson Canó served a half-season suspension for his PED use while with the Mariners in 2018 and when shortstop Tim Beckham was caught juicing in 2019.

This effectively marks the end of Santiago's tenure with the Mariners. He had been producing well, with a 3.42 ERA in 26 innings of relief. The 33-year-old former All-Star had been a solid starting pitcher for the White Sox, Angels, and Twins before signing with the Mariners as a minor-league free agent over the past offseason.

Santiago issued a statement through the players' union that reads as follows:

"In 2020, while I was not on the roster of a MLB club, I consulted a licensed physician in Puerto Rico who diagnosed me with a condition and recommended hormonal replacement therapy. Because I did not play in 2020, I did not consider that this therapy could ultimately lead to a positive test under MLB's joint drug program. That said, I alone am responsible for what I put in my body, and I was not careful. Therefore, I have decided for forgo my right to an appeal in this matter and accept the suspension. I apologize for any harm this has caused the Seattle Mariners, the Mariners' fans, my teammates, and most importantly, my family."

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