March 28, 2012; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; A general view of a Washington Nationals catchers mask and helmet in the bullpen before a spring training game against the New York Mets at Digital Domain Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
Josh Wilkie was hit with a 50-game suspension, for what he says is a spice in a type of flavored tobacco.
I have confirmed that pitcher Josh Wilkie has been suspended for 50 games. #Nats— William Ladson (@washingnats) June 2, 2012
Byron Kerr cites a club source that says Wilkie was suspended "for use of a banned substance." It is unclear what that substance is, but this from Kerr's report:
Wilkie said in a text message that he was suspended for a spice in a type of flavored tobacco. The spice is legal, but not permissible according to Major League Baseball's banned substance guidelines.
"I'm very disappointed and embarrassed," Wilkie said in a text. "It is my responsibility to check and re-check whatever it is i put into my body and in this case i failed to do the proper research before using a product recommended to me by the store owner at the local shop where they sell hookah products and tobacco. I will rebound from this and hopefully with another opportunity i can prove myself as a competitive successful pitcher in the Nationals organization. I am going to continue to stay in shape and pitch and be ready when the suspension is up."
Wilkie has spent the past four seasons with the Syracuse Chiefs, the Washington Nationals' Triple A squad. He's 0-2 this season with a 4.76 ERA in 18 appearances in relief. For a 27-year-old pitcher performing this way in the minors, desperate times could call for desperate measures, but so far there is hardly anything performance-wise that indicates Wilkie is using performance enhancement drugs.