Orioles draft pick Tucker Baca suspended 60 games for PED violation

Orioles minor league pitcher Tucker Baca, who was the club’s 12th-round draft pick last June, was suspended 60 games without pay after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug in violation of the minor league drug prevention and treatment program.

Baca, who tested positive for the PED Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, posted a 4.50 ERA in 12 relief innings (13 games) last season pitching in the Gulf Coast League in his first season of professional ball. His suspension will begin at the beginning of the GCL season, which begins in June.

The Orioles drafted the left-handed Baca out of the University of Saint Katherine in San Marcos, Calif., and reportedly signed him to $125,000 bonus. Baca pitched his first two years of college at Arizona State, posting a 3.38 ERA in 25 games there.

Baca, 21, is the fifth Orioles farmhand to be suspended for violating the minor league drug policy since the beginning of the 2017 season. Seven minor leaguers from the Toronto Blue Jays system have received suspensions over that span, the most in baseball.

Infielder Steve Wilkerson, who had an opportunity to make the big league club this spring after a strong minor league and fall league, seasons was suspended 50 games last month for testing positive for an amphetamine.

While playing at Triple-A Norfolk, former major leaguer Robert Andino received a 50-game suspension in May after testing positive for an amphetamine. Also in May, Dominican Summer League outfielder Johnny Dixon was suspended 72 games following a positive test for the PED Stanozolol, and in August, minor league outfielder Markel Jones, the Orioles’ 33rd-round pick in 2016, was suspended 50 games for a second failed test for a drug of abuse while playing for Short-A Aberdeen.

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