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Red Sox minor leaguers Miguel Pena, Gerson Bautista suspended by MLB

04.17.13 at 8:53 pm ET

When the Red Sox took Miguel Pena in the sixth round of the 2011 draft, they did so with eyes wide open. While he had some off-field issues as an amateur — including a decision by the Cape League to send him home in 2010 for off-field issues — the team believed not only in his talent, but also in the idea that he would be responsive to guidance that might help steer him clear of trouble in a professional structure.

For that reason, it no doubt came as a disappointment to a number of team officials on Wednesday when Major League Baseball announced a 50-game suspension for a second positive test for a drug of abuse by the 22-year-old left-hander. Pena, who was pitching for High-A Salem, will serve the suspension beginning immediately.

While a relatively unheralded pitcher in the prospect, Pena has the talent of a legitimate prospect. He attacks the strike zone with his 88-92 mph fastball, curve, slider and changeup. His first full pro season last year in Single-A Greenville featured impressive results; at age 21, he was 8-7 with a 2.95 ERA, 8.1 strikeouts and just 1.9 walks per nine innings. Team officials and scouts of other clubs were impressed by his mound demeanor, his fearlessness in going after opposing hitters. This year, in three starts with High-A Salem, he has a 3.46 ERA with seven punchouts and three walks in 13 innings.

Pena may still be a prospect. But with this suspension, the burden of proof on him to prove that off-field issues will not represent an impediment to his career becomes even greater. He will now miss the better part of two months of this season.

A second Red Sox minor leaguer, right-handed pitcher Gerson Bautista, also received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Metabolites of Stanozolol. The suspension of Bautista, who is on the roster of the Dominican Summer League Red Sox, is effective at the start of the DSL season.

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