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Vero pitcher draws 50-game ban

Posted Jul 21, 2008 by Marc Lancaster

Updated Jul 21, 2008 at 06:07 PM

Vero Beach RHP Matt Walker has been suspended 50 games for violating baseball’s drug policy—specifically, testing positive for amphetamines.

Walker, 21, was the Rays’ 10th-round pick in the 2004 draft. He’s 4-7 with a 4.86 ERA in 22 appearances for the V-Rays this season, nine of them starts. He has walked 47 and struck out 48 in 66 2/3 innings. He last pitched Thursday at Dunedin, going two innings in relief.

Walker becomes the first Rays player suspended for a violation this season. LHP James Houser drew a 50-game ban last year that was truncated when he was added to the 40-man roster during the offseason. RHP Juan Salas served 50 games last season.

Updating with a statement from Rays minor league operations director Mitch Lukevics, which if precedent serves will be the organization’s only comment on the matter:

“The Tampa Bay Rays are in full support of baseball’s drug testing program, including the actions taken against Matt Walker.”

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