Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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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.”