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Nationals catcher Barrera issued 80-game MLB doping ban

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In this file photo taken on February 22, 2019, Tres Barrera #13 of the Washington Nationals poses for a portrait on Photo Day at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Florida. AFP

Washington, United States (AFP) – Tres Barrera, a reserve catcher for the reigning World Series champion Washington Nationals, received an 80-game doping ban from Major League Baseball on Saturday after losing an appeal.

The 25-year-old American, who played two games for Washington last September in his MLB debut, tested positive for the performance- enhancing substance DHCMT, the league announced.

With the just-underway 2020 MLB season reduced to 60 games per club due to the coronavirus pandemic, Barrera will miss the entire campaign and the start of the 2021 season.

“I am saddened to confirm that I have failed a test under MLB’s joint drug agreement for DHCMT and the arbitrator has decided to uphold the suspension,” Barrera said in a statement released by the MLB Players Association.

“From the initial failed drug test to losing the appeal, this has all come as a complete surprise as I have never and will never knowingly use a banned substance. I’ve worked too hard and given too much to this sport to disrespect or cheat the game that I love.”

The suspension continues a chaotic start to defending the crown for the Nationals, who lost star outfielder Juan Soto indefinitely to a COVID-19 positive test just hours before the season opener Thursday, a rain-shortened home loss to the New York Yankees.

Barrera had no role in Washington’s championship playoff run last year, which ended with a victory over Houston in the World Series and the first MLB crown
for the US capital since 1924.

“I apologize to the Nationals’ organiztion, my teammates, fans and my family for the negative attention this has brought,” Barrera said.

“I will continue to work to find answers to the many questions that remain surrounding this drug to clear my name, but most importantly to prevent this from happening to anyone else.”

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