By Shannon Drayer
As expected, Mariners catcher Jesus Montero has been suspended for a violation of the MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspension is for 50 games and it is expected that it will be completed by the start of next season.
The Mariners have released the following statement regarding Montero:
"The Seattle Mariners are disappointed that Jesus Montero has violated the terms of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Our organization fully supports the Program and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing substances from our game.
"Per the Basic Agreement, the Mariners will have no further comment."
Montero has been with the Tacoma Rainiers since his demotion on May 22, so this does not have an immediate impact on the big-league club other than the fact that it opens up a spot on the 40-man roster if needed.
Montero most likely will remain with one of the affiliates and continue working out but he will not be allowed to play in games or wear the uniform.
As for any impact in the clubhouse, in baseball it is out of sight, out of mind. While various reports – including mentions of Montero's name – of the situation could be seen and heard on the televisions in the visitors' clubhouse in Baltimore, they barely drew a sideways glance from the players as they went about their business of getting ready for their games.
Baseball appears to want to put these suspensions behind it quickly. Fifty games coincides with the end of the season, so a fresh start next year is possible. Those suspended, however, will always be linked to performance-enhancing drugs and that is a hard thing for an individual to put behind him. When he returns, Montero will have a lot to prove both on and off the field to his teammates and the organization.