Nats catcher Read suspended 80 games for positive drug test

FILE - This is a 2017 photo of Raudy Read of the Washington Nationals. Read has been suspended for the first 80 games of the season following a positive test for Boldenone under Major League Baseball's drug-testing program. The commissioner's office announced the discipline Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 after it was upheld by arbitrator Mark Irvings. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, file)

NEW YORK — Washington catcher Raudy Read has been suspended for the first 80 games of the season following a positive test for Boldenone under Major League Baseball's drug-testing program.

The commissioner's office announced the discipline Wednesday, after it was upheld by arbitrator Mark Irvings.

Read signed with the Nationals in 2011 and made his big league debut last September, going 3 for 11 (.273) in eight games. He said he was tested seven times last year.

"I have never in my life knowingly used a banned substance," he said in a statement released by the players' association. "I don't take supplements or anything else on top of my regular diet, which consists simply of chicken, beef, rice and vegetables. So when I heard I tested positive during a routine drug test this winter, I was shocked. I was convinced there had to be a mistake."

Boldenone is known for its use in horses and is a banned performance-enhancing substance under baseball's drug program.

"Without being able to identify the source causing the positive test, I could not prevail," Read said of his appeal. "This does not reflect who I am as an athlete or as a person. I will do whatever I can to clear my name."

The 24-year-old hit .265 last year at Double-A Harrisburg and set career bests with 17 homers and 61 RBIs.

"I am deeply disappointed in Raudy," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. "I have spoken with him directly. and he understands that he is ultimately responsible for what he puts into his body."

Read is the third player suspended this year under the big league program after Houston pitcher Dean Deetz and Pittsburgh pitcher Nik Turley. Ten players have been suspended under the minor league program.

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