Blue Jays’ Orelvis Martinez suspended 80 games for PED violation

Toronto Blue Jays infielder Orelvis Martinez has been suspended 80 games for violating Major League Baseball's performance-enhancing drug policy. Brandon Rowe has more.

By Lucas Casaletto

Toronto Blue Jays’ top prospect and infielder Orelvis Martinez has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball for a performance-enhancing drug (PED) violation, the league announced on Sunday.

Martinez issued a statement through the MLB Players Association (MLBPA), revealing that he and his girlfriend had been trying to start a family together, and he was prescribed a treatment called Rejun 50 through a fertility clinic in the Dominican Republic.

“Unfortunately, Rejun 50 contains a banned substance called clomiphene,” reads the statement. “We wanted to keep this matter private, even within our family and trusted the doctor who assured us this treatment did not include performance-enhancing drugs. Therefore, I made the mistake of not disclosing this to my team or the MLBPA.”

Clomiphene is a medication used primarily in the treatment of infertility in women. It belongs to a class of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs). In some cases, clomiphene may also be prescribed off-label to treat male infertility by stimulating the production of testosterone and improving sperm production.

Martinez said he takes full responsibility for the suspension and apologized to the Blue Jays and Bisons organizations.

“I will learn from this experience and come back to the field in September.”

Atkins says Blue Jays will support Martinez through suspension

The Blue Jays issued a statement shortly after news of the suspension, saying the baseball club fully supports the decision to suspend the 22-year-old.

“We were both surprised and disappointed to learn of Orelvis Martinez’s suspension. We will do everything in our power to ensure Orelvis has learned from this mistake,” said Blue Jays General Manager Ross Atkins.

“Orelvis has our support, and we know he will get through this.”

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Blue Jays manager John Schneider said Martinez was remorseful when he informed organization members of the news.

“The fact that he’s taking responsibility for it, I think, is a good first step,” said Schneider. [Martinez] understood he made a mistake. He was definitely disappointed.”

The Blue Jays placed Martinez on the restricted list and, ahead of Sunday’s game in Cleveland, recalled outfielder Steward Berroa from the Bisons, who was added to the 40-man roster.

On Friday, Martinez made his major-league debut against the Cleveland Guardians, going 1-for-3 with a single. He’s regarded as the organization’s best infield prospect after slashing .260/.343/.523 with 16 home runs and 46 RBIs in 63 games with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.

The Blue Jays recalled Martinez after the club placed shortstop Bo Bichette on the 10-day injured list. The 22-year-old was ranked by MLB.com as Toronto’s second-best prospect entering the season.

Martinez was Toronto’s biggest international signing in 2018, joining the team for $3.5 million. 

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