Triple-A Syracuse right-handed reliever Josh Wilkie has been suspended 50 games for use of a banned substance, according to a club source.
Wilkie said in a text message that he was suspended for a substance called Spice, which was mixed with a flavored tobacco. Spice is sold and distributed legally in some places, although it is increasingly being banned at the state and local levels.
A chemical in Spice is not permissible according to Major League Baseball's banned substance guidelines.
"I'm very disappointed and embarrassed," Wilkie wrote in a text. "It is my responsibility to check and re-check whatever it is i put into my body and in this case i failed to do the proper research before using a product recommended to me by the store owner at the local shop where they sell hookah products and tobacco. I will rebound from this and hopefully with another opportunity i can prove myself as a competitive successful pitcher in the Nationals organization. I am going to continue to stay in shape and pitch and be ready when the suspension is up."
Wilkie has pitched well for the Chiefs the past two seasons, but has struggled recently, including allowing four runs in 2/3 of an inning May 20. He is 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA in 18 games this season and has not appeared in a game since May 29.