1. Rays

Rays catching prospect Nick Ciuffo suspended 50 games for second failed drug test

Catcher was a first-round pick in 2013, and played at Double-A in 2017
Nick Ciuffo was a 2013 first-round pick. [Times files 2016]
Published Feb. 10, 2018
Updated Feb. 10, 2018

Rays catching prospect Nick Ciuffo, a 2013 first-round pick, was suspended 50 games by the commissioner's office for a second positive test for a "drug of abuse."

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.

In a statement, Rays GM Erik Neander said:

"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."

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.

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.

Ciuffo issued an apology on Twitter Saturday afternoon: