The bad news continues for the Mariners: Minor league OF Boog Powell, 23, one of the system’s brighter prospects, was suspended 80 games Thursday by Major League Baseball for use of the performance-enhancing drug dehydrochlormethyltestosterone.
Part of Jerry Dipoto’s first trade as Mariners GM the past fall, Powell hit .270 with a .685 on-base plus slugging percentage in 64 games for the AAA Tacoma Rainiers. The suspension is immediate, so they have lost him for the season since 72 games remain. He’ll finish his ban early next season, after he participates in spring training.
Through the Major League Baseball Players Association, Powell released a statement:
“I am extremely disappointed to announce that today I have accepted a penalty under MLB’s Joint Drug Treatment and Prevention Program. While I realize this has become a common refrain among athletes faced with such discipline, the truth is I do not know how this substance could possibly have been in my system. I can only say that this is not a reflection of my true character, and those who know me understand the deep respect I have for my fellow competitors and teammates. I would never betray that by attempting to gain an improper advantage.
“I have already taken proactive steps to look into this situation, and will not rest until there is a full explanation for this result which will vindicate me. Until that happens, however, I realize that accountability rests solely with me on this matter. I am responsible for everything I put in my body, and part of that responsibility means dealing with the consequences regardless of the explanation. I would like to apologize to my family, friends, the Seattle Mariners organization and its fans for this situation, and I will work to rebuild trust with each of you through my words and actions moving forward. I promise you, I will find a solution to all of this.”
The Mariners acknowledged the suspension with their own statement: “The Seattle Mariners are disappointed that Boog Powell has violated the terms Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Our organization fully supports the Program and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing substances from our game.”
The violation was Powell’s second. As a prospect with the Oakland Athletics, he was suspended 50 games in 2014 for an amphetamine.
Powell came to the Mariners in a November trade with pitchers Nathan Karns and C.J. Riefenhauser from Tampa in exchange for SS Brad Miller, 1B Logan Morrison and RHP Danny Farquhar.
With LF Nori Aoki underperforming at the plate and left field for the Mariners, there was some thought that Powell might be a midseason callup. But that option is now off the table.