Former Lexington High catcher Nick Ciuffo suspended 50 games by MLB

Ciuffo was suspended for 50 games for a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports.

The suspension followed Ciuffo’s second positive test for a drug of abuse. The 2013 first-round pick spent the entirety of 2017 at Double-A Montgomery.

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Ciuffo was left off the Rays 40-man roster this past November, leaving him exposed for the Rule 5 Draft, but he wasn’t taken. Heading into camp, he was expected to compete with several other catchers for the backup – backup catcher position, but with news of his suspension he moves further down the depth chart.

Tampa Bay Rays minor league catcher Nick Ciuffo suspended 50 games by MLB

Ciuffo, 22, was an invitee to big-league camp after a solid 2017 season at Double-A Montgomery, hitting .245 with 7 homers, 42 RBIs and a .704 OPS.

“We are disappointed by Nick’s actions, and we expect more from our players. We hope that Nick will take this opportunity to reassess his priorities both during spring training and once the suspension takes effect.”

Mt. Pleasant native Nick Ciuffo suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball for positive drug test

The Rays debated adding Ciuffo to the 40-man roster in November and decided against it, and their gamble paid off when he was not selected in the Rule 5 draft.

I’ve made a mistake and I take full responsibility for my actions. I want to apologize to the Rays as an organization for the distraction this has caused. I apologize to my teammates and most importantly my family.

With only projected starter Wilson Ramos and backup Jesus Sucre on the 40-man roster, the Rays have four other catchers in camp on minor-league deals:  Xorge Carillo, Johhny Monell, Adam Moore and Brett Sullivan.

No specifics of the violation were released. Under the minor-league testing program, marijuana is considered a drug of abuse.

Iʼve made a mistake and I take full responsibility for my actions. I want to apologize to the Rays as an organization for the distraction this has caused. I apologize to my teammates and most importantly my family.

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