Lefty reliever David Rollins suspended for PED use
Left-hander pitcher David Rollins, a Rule 5 Draft pick who was in the hunt for a final roster berth with the Mariners, has been suspended 80 games for testing positive for Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance, in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Rollins will remain the Mariners’ property during his suspension, though general manager Jack Zduriencik said the club is awaiting guidance from MLB due to his Rule 5 status.
“It was a very bad judgment and I’ve been regretting it ever since,” Rollins said. “It’s been tough on me and my family and I just want to apologize to my fans, my family, the Seattle organization and everybody else I’ve disappointed.”
Rollins has allowed just one run and five hits in eight innings of Cactus League play this spring and seemed to have the inside track on Seattle’s opening for a second left-hander in its bullpen.
“It’s tough,” said the 25-year-old Texan. “I’ve thought about it and it’s been heavy on my heart. It hasn’t been easy for me the past couple days. I’m glad I got an opportunity to show I think I can compete, but I just made one bad decision and it’s costing me.”
Rollins will come off Seattle’s 40-man roster and remain in Arizona working out during his suspension, but won’t be allowed to compete on any team during that time other than in extending Spring Training.
“It’s a shock,” Zduriencik said. “I’m disappointed in David. It’s an error in judgment. The young man made a mistake. He’s not the first and probably won’t be the last. It’s unfortunate. He was in good position how he was pitching and where he was with the ballclub, but now you just have to recalculate. We’ll stand by him and help him through this. There’s a lot still to be determined, how his Rule 5 status all plays out. We don’t have all the answers right now.”
Rollins said he took the banned substance when he returned from Winter Ball in Puerto Rico, hoping to help speed up the recovery from some soreness.
“It was a banned substance and a dumb mistake on my part,” he said. “At the end of the day, I have to live with my decision.”
The suspension leaves former Gonzaga standout Tyler Olson and veteran Joe Saunders as the two left-handers still battling for the second lefty spot in the bullpen, though manager Lloyd McClendon has said he’ll only go with one lefty if necessary to field the best bullpen possible.
Rollins said he won’t appeal the decision.
“I’m just accepting it and trying to move forward,” he said.
Rollins pitched Double-A ball for the Astros last year, going 3-4 with one save and a 3.81 ERA in 27 games (12 starts) with Corpus Christi. The Mariners, who’d drafted Rollins twice but failed to sign him while he was at San Jacinto College in Texas, selected him in the Rule 5 Draft in December and were giving him an extensive look this spring.
If a Rule 5 selection isn’t kept on the 25-man roster, he must be put through waivers and then offered back to his former team if no one selects him. But in Rollins’ case, he goes onto a suspended list and will remain with Seattle through the duration of that process.
“It’s a young man that made a mistake and we’ll do our very best to help him through all this,” Zduriencik said.