Minor league pitcher Fuentes suspended 50 games (Nats up 4-0)

SAN FRANCISCO - Double-A Harrisburg pitcher Steven Fuentes has been suspended 50 games after testing positive for a stimulant in violation of the minor league drug prevention and treatment program.

Fuentes, rated the organization’s 21st best prospect by MLB Pipeline, tested positive for the stimulant Heptaminol, Major League Baseball announced this afternoon.

baseballs-generic-art-nats.jpgThe 22-year-old right-hander was signed by the Nationals out of Panama in 2013 and has slowly climbed his way up the organizational ladder. He was enjoying a breakthrough season, beginning at Single-A Potomac and continuing at Harrisburg.

In 23 games (11 starts), Fuentes was 6-5 with a 2.23 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings.

Fuentes joins a very short list of Nationals players who have been suspended following positive drug tests. Raudy Read remains the only player on their 40-man roster at the time to be suspended; the catcher served an 80-game suspension in 2018.

A handful of minor leaguers have been suspended over the years, most recently right-hander Jefry Rodriguez, who was suspended 80 games in 2017. Rodriguez made his major league debut for the Nationals last season but was traded to the Indians in December as part of the deal that brought Yan Gomes to Washington.

Update: Just as they did in the first two games of this series, the Nationals jumped out to an early lead on the Giants in today’s finale. They scored a run in the top of the first via two singles and two productive outs. Then they got a big blast in the top of the third, thanks to yet another big moment from Gerardo Parra. The veteran outfielder belted a three-run, opposite-field homer off Shaun Anderson, extending the Nationals’ lead to 4-0. Parra now sports a ridiculous 1.736 OPS in 18 plate appearances with two outs and runners in scoring position since joining the team in May. Meanwhile, Joe Ross continues to turn his season around. The right-hander has tossed four scoreless innings on 61 pitches and has now thrown 9 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing only two hits, during this road trip.

Update II: It’s still 4-0 Nats after six innings, but here’s a negative development: Anthony Rendon had to come out of the game two innings after getting hit by a pitch on the right foot. The Nationals announced Rendon left with a “sore toe,” so you’d imagine he’s getting it X-rayed right now. Stay tuned.

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