Braves reliever Vizcaino slapped with 80-game PED suspension

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Braves rookie reliever pitcher Arodys Vizcaino has been suspended 80 games without pay for testing positive for Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance. The suspension was announced Thursday by the baseball commissioner’s office.

“We are obviously very disappointed,” said John Hart, Braves president of baseball operations, “and our hope is he will use this time to reflect, and to prepare himself for his eventual return to play.”

Vizcaino, 24, a hard-throwing prospect in his second stint with the Braves organization, had been optioned to Triple-A on Monday after giving up nine hits, eight walks and eight runs in eight innings of seven Grapefruit League appearances.

Now he’ll stay in Florida and work out in extended spring training, but won’t be permitted to pitch in games.

The Braves reacquired him from the Cubs in November in a trade for second baseman Tommy La Stella, and Vizcaino came to spring training with a good chance to win a spot in the opening-day bullpen. But his disappointing performance led the Braves to option him to Triple-A to work on his control.

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Now he’ll miss more than half of the season after becoming the Braves’ highest-profile PED drug suspension since former outfield prospect Jordan Schafer was suspended 50 games in 2008 while in Double-A. Unlike Schafer, who never actually tested positive and denied using PEDs, Vizcaino failed a test.

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