Saturday, 22/9/2018 | 2:38 UTC+0

Pair of Astros Minor Leaguers suspended

Two Houston Astros players in the Astros’ system — one an up-and-coming prospect and the other a former top-ranked prospect — were dealt suspensions by the Commissioner’s Office on Tuesday for a violation of Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

First baseman Jon Singleton — the team’s former No. 1 prospect who spent all of last season at Double-A Corpus Christi — has received a 100-game suspension without pay after a third positive test for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Also, right-handed pitcher Dean Deetz — the team’s No. 24 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — received an 80-game suspension without pay for testing positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, a performance-enhancing substance.

Both suspensions will start at the beginning of the 2018 season .

“Throughout our system, our players are educated through MLB’s Drug Prevention and Treatment programs,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said in a statement. “Therefore, it is disappointing when any player is in violation of the policies that are in place. We hope that these young men will learn from this experience moving forward. The Astros will continue to fully support Major League Baseball’s Drug Prevention and Treatment Programs.”

Astros #4 George Springer Navy Blue Cool Base Stitched Youth MLB Jersey

Astros #4 Navy Blue Cool Base Stitched Youth MLB Jersey

Singleton was suspended 50 games five years ago for testing positive for marijuana for his second violation of Minor League baseball’s drug policy. Singleton, who signed a five-year, $10 million deal with the Astros midway through the 2014 season while he was still in the Minors, hit 14 homers in parts of two seasons with Houston (2014-15), but struck out at an alarming rate. He was taken off the Astros’ 40-man roster following the 2016 season, which he spent at Triple-A Fresno.

“It’s the same as every year,” said White, who made the Opening Day roster in 2016 and was the American League Player of the Week with a torrid start in the season’s first week. “Just go out there ready to play and go out there and play well in Spring Training and see what happens. I can’t make the women Carlos Correa jersey decisions, so I have to go out there and play my .”

A right-hander, White hit .300 with 22 doubles, one triple, 25 homers, 89 RBIs and an .898 OPS in 111 games last year for Fresno. He was recalled to Houston in late July for a couple of weeks — he went 4-for-5 with two homers and five RBIs on Aug. 4 vs. Toronto — and then came back up in September. He was on the Astros’ AL Division Series roster against the Red Sox jerseys but didn’t see any action.

Making the Astros as a position player who’s not in the team’s core will be challenging, barring injuries. The starting infield is set — Alex Bregman at third, Carlos Correa at shortstop, Jose Altuve at second and Yuli Gurriel at first — and super-utility player Marwin Gonzalez will get plenty of at-bats when he’s not in the outfield.

Gurriel will be suspended for the first five games of next season, a punishment handed down during the World Series after he made an offensive gesture toward Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish. That could open the door for White to make the Opening Day roster, but the competition for permanent work in Houston will be stiff.

He’s expected to be the Astros’ fourth outfielder again in 2018, getting most of his at-bats against left-handers.

The Astros’ remaining seven arbitration-eligible players are left-hander Dallas Keuchel, catcher/designated hitter Evan Gattis, right-handers Collin McHugh, , and Lance McCullers Jr., and outfielder George Springer jersey, who was the World Series Most Valuable Player. Keuchel, McCullers and Springer were All-Stars last year.

Once the two sides exchange their figures Friday, they can continue negotiating until hearings are scheduled for February, when a three-person panel will choose one side for the player’s 2018 salary. McHugh beat the Astros in an arbitration hearing last year.