New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Minnesota Twins pitcher Ervin Santana received an 80-game suspension Friday after testing positive for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol.
Santana just signed a four-year, $54 million deal with the Twins this offseason. He was slated to be the team's No. 2 starter behind Phil Hughes.
"This is unexpected news for me and my family," Santana said in a statement issued by the Players Association. "I am issuing this statement so the public knows where I stand. First, my deepest apologies to my family, fans, colleagues, teammates and my current employer the Minnesota Twins. I am very disappointed that I tested positive for a performance enhancing drug. I am frustrated that I can't pinpoint how the substance in question entered my body. I would never knowingly take anything illegal to enhance my performance. What I can guarantee is I never knowingly took anything illegal to enhance my performance. That's just not me, never has been and never will.
"Ever since I was a child I always had to work harder than everyone. Not too many people believed I could become a Major Leaguer. I worked hard to achieve everything I accomplished and I take pride in proving that through hard work dreams can come true.
"I serve as a role model for many kids in my home country who dream of playing at the highest level. I would never put baseball, my family, or my country in a position where its integrity is jeopardized. I preach hard work, and don't believe in short cuts.
"Moving forward, I need to be more careful on what I consume in my home country. I will be more vigilant of medications I take so that I don't commit another mistake. Having said that, I believe it is best to move forward and accept the punishment as set forth in Joint Drug Agreement. All I can do now is continue to work hard, and when the suspension is up, come back to doing what I love."
The Twins issued the following statement:
"We were disappointed to learn of the suspension of Ervin Santana for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. We fully support Major League Baseball's policy and its efforts to eliminate performance enhancing substances from our game. Per the protocol outlined in the Joint Drug Program, the Minnesota Twins will not comment further on this matter."
In 2014, Santana went 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA over 31 starts with the Braves.
Santana, a native of the Dominican Republic, is 119-100 with a 4.17 ERA in 299 career games with the Angels, Royals and Braves.
Minnesota recalled pitcher Aaron Thompson from Triple-A Rochester to take the roster spot of Santana.
Santana's suspension is the second Stanozolol ban announced in as many days by MLB. On Thursday, Braves pitcher Arodys Vizcaino received an 80-game ban.