LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) - Tampa Bay Rays minor league catcher Nick Ciuffo has been reportedly suspended by Major League Baseball for 50 games today after testing positive for a "drug of abuse," according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
Ciuffo, a former catcher for Lexington High School, was named the Rays' minor league Defensive Player of the Year in both 2016 and 2017. Ciuffo was invited prior to the suspension to join the team for spring training.
Shortly after Topkin's tweet, Ciuffo released a tweet of his own admitting to a "mistake."
Ciuffo will still travel with the team to spring training and participate with the Rays throughout but will serve his suspension once the regular season begins in April. The suspension is related to a mistake in judgement in regards to recreational drug use and not a pattern behavior, sources tell WIS News 10's Joe Gorchow.
Topkin also tweeted out a part of Rays General Manager Erik Neander's statement following the suspension.
Ciuffo was drafted in the first round straight out of high school by the Rays in 2013, foregoing his opportunity to play college baseball for the Gamecocks, despite having been committed to USC his entire high school career. Ciuffo was ranked No. 27 among Tampa Bay Rays prospects by MLB.com.
Stick with WIS News 10 for updates!