Barrera suspended 80 games after positive PED test

Tres Barrera, who made his major league debut for the Nationals last season and was in camp this summer competing to make the opening day roster as the club’s third catcher, has been suspended 80 games without pay by Major League Baseball after testing positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, a performance-enhancing drug.

Barrera, who denied having ever knowingly taken a banned substance, appealed his positive test, but MLB’s independent arbitrator upheld the decision. He must begin serving his suspension today.

Barrera-Throws-Photo-Day-Sidebar.jpg“From the initial failed drug test to losing the appeal, this all has come as a complete surprise, as I have never, and will never, knowingly use a banned substance,” Barrera said in a statement released through the MLB Players Association. “I have worked too hard and given too much to this sport to disrespect or cheat the game that I love. I would never do anything to dishonor my family, teammates and coaches, or do anything to let down the many young ballplayers that look up to me.”

Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, abbreviated as DHCMT and also known under the brand name Oral Turinabol, is an anabolic steroid developed in the 1960s by an East German drug company that was at the center of Olympics drug scandals in the 1980s but had largely disappeared in the decades since until a surprising recent return in baseball, according to a 2016 New York Times article published after three players (Chris Colabello, Daniel Stumpf and Kameron Loe) all were suspended after testing positive for it.

The article noted that the drug had shown up in supplements in the United States, which meant some athletes may have unwittingly taken it.

Barrera, 25, was the Nationals’ sixth-round pick in the 2016 draft out of the University of Texas. He was called up to the majors for the first time last September and appeared in two games, going 0-for-2 while catching two innings.

“I apologize to the Nationals’ organization, my teammates, fans and my family for the negative attention this has brought,” Barrera said. “I will continue to work to find answers to the many questions that remain surrounding this drug to clear my name, but most importantly to prevent this from happening to anyone else. I look forward to returning to baseball and contributing to the team alongside my brothers.”

Barrera was in big league camp this spring and again this summer but was supposed to report to the Nationals’ alternate training site in Fredericksburg as the season opened after Raudy Read was selected to make the opening day roster as the club’s third catcher.

Read, incidentally, had been the only player on the Nationals’ 40-man roster to previously be suspended for a positive PED test since MLB began the program in 2005. He served an 80-game suspension in 2018 while still in the minor leagues.

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