Braves minor leaguer gets 100-game drug suspension

Braves minor-league pitcher Richie Tate has received a 100-game suspension without pay after a third positive test for a “drug of abuse.”

Tate, 23, posted a 2.50 ERA in 28 relief appearances last season at high Single-A Carolina, with 24 strikeouts and 10 walks in 36 innings. It was the fifth season for the right-hander, a 14th-round draft pick out of Marked Tree (Ark.) High School in 2010.

Under the minor league drug prevention and treatment program, the “drugs of abuse” category includes drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, opiates and LSD, and carries different penalties than those for performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids, testosterone and human growth hormone.

“Our primary concern is for the well-being of Richie Tate,” Braves general manager John Coppolella said, “and we are going to do whatever we can to get him the proper help and support. Obviously we abide by MLB’s drug program, but the priority here is Richie and getting him healthy.”

The suspension was announced Monday by the Office of the Commissioner.

Tate has not pitched above Single-A and has a 12-9 career record and 2.98 ERA in 111 relief appearances, with 137 strikeouts in 178 1/3 innings. He wasn’t considered a strong prospect and wasn’t among the Braves’ top 30 prospects by Baseball America in its recently released 2016 preseason rankings.

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