FT. MYERS – Boston Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright has been suspended 80 games without pay after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, Major League Baseball announced Wednesday.
The right-handed knuckleballer tested positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide 2 (GHRP-2), according to MLB, a violation of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
The suspension starts with the beginning of the 2019 regular season.
Wright, 34, was likely to fill a role for the Red Sox this season as a multi-inning reliever. The knuckleballer appeared in 20 games last season with four starts, and a 3-1 record and a 2.68 ERA in 53 2/3 innings.
He missed the start of last season after he accepted a 15-game suspension from MLB for violating the league’s domestic violence policy. He did not appear for the Red Sox during their postseason run to the World Series title, as he was replaced on the roster after Game 1 of the American League Division Series because of inflammation and a loose body in his left knee, which was surgically repaired in May 2017.
Wright has appeared in 75 games for Boston over the past six seasons, earning All-Star status in 2016, when he finished 13-6 with a 3.33 ERA in 24 starts.Wright has a career mark of 24-15 with a 3.77 ERA, striking out 266 and walking 128 in 341 1/3 innings.
The Red Sox released the following statement regarding the right-handed pitcher:
“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.”
GHRP-2 is believed to stimulate the body to create more Human Growth Hormone (HGH). The substance is known to increase energy and endurance, and it accelerates recovery from injury. It also enhances the immune system, improves protein synthesis, sharpens eyesight and strengthens bones.