|Minor league pitcher Alec Asher is suspended 80-games for using a banned substance.|
The 24-year-old right-hander tested positive for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, an anabolic steroid used to improve strength and speed.
"The Phillies support Major League Baseball's Joint Prevention and Treatment Program and are disappointed to hear today's news of Alec's violation," the team said in a statement.
Asher opened the season at Double-A Reading before advancing to Triple-A Lehigh Valley; over eight starts he was 4-2 with a 2.30 ERA. He was on the disabled list mending from a stress fracture in his lower right leg.
"I don’t know if he knew he was doing it or not but it’s disappointing," said Phillies manager Pete Mackanin. "He was throwing the ball well."
The Phillies acquired Asher in the deal that sent Cole Hamels to Texas last July. In seven starts with the Phillies last year, Asher was 0-6 with a 9.31 ERA.
Asher is the second Phillies pitcher to be suspended this year. Left-handed reliever Daniel Stumpf tested positive in mid-April for using the same substance as Asher and is currently serving an 80-game suspension.
"They can’t explain it," Mackanin said. "Taking some kind of medication for whatever. Didn’t know what was in it. Supplements. I didn’t query these guys on it. Like when Stumpf was told I didn’t ask him how you could have possibly done it. I didn’t want to go there with him."
Asher is the sixth Phillies player to be suspended for violating MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Stumpf, Antonio Bastardo, J.C. Romero, Freddy Galvis, and Carlos Ruiz were the others.