Orioles left-hander Troy Patton said he took an Adderall pill four days before this past season ended as a temporary fix to improve focus and then was tested for banned substances the next day.
On Friday, Major League Baseball announced that Patton was suspended for 25 games without pay, starting next season, for testing positive for a banned amphetamine. He will be placed on the restricted list for the start of 2014.
"I took one because I was stupid," said Patton, who was 2-0 with a 3.70 ERA in 56 games in 2013. "It was the end of the season. It was just a stupid mistake. I don't have trouble focusing all the time, it just enhances focus in certain situations, and I was just tired, basically. I don't want to list that as an excuse. I know I took a banned substance. It was just a poor lapse in judgment."
This is the second time the 28-year-old Patton has tested positive for amphetamine use. He said the first occurred in spring training in 2010, and again it was an Adderall tablet; as part of baseball's drug prevention program, first-time offenders of the amphetamine ban are subject to evaluation and further testing. Suspensions don't come until the second offense. Patton said he was tested for years in between the two incidents and always passed.
Major League Baseball does allow an exemption for those who have attention deficit disorder -- 119 players were granted therapeutic use exemptions to use Adderall in 2013 -- but Patton said he was never diagnosed with the condition. Patton said, as a youth, there was often a question as to whether he had ADD, but he was never tested for it. He attempted to apply for an exemption in 2012, but was denied after an examination by doctors.
Patton never applied again, but he took the pill anyway in September and tested positive for the first time in three years. It's the second time that Patton has made headlines with the Orioles outside of his performance on the field.
In January 2011, Patton was arrested for driving while intoxicated in Houston after his vehicle ran over a curb. Throughout that season, he participated in a court-appointed rehabilitation program, which he completed.
Patton said Friday that he hopes to put any negative incidents behind him.
"I'm sorry for bringing negative publicity in any way to the team," he said. "Hopefully, I can move forward and be a contributing member of the Orioles next season."
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said that there are internal options to fill Patton's spot as a left-handed reliever while he is suspended. Those pitchers include Chris Jones, Mike Belfiore, Kelvin De La Cruz, and potentially Zach Britton and T.J. McFarland.
"We were disappointed to learn of Troy Patton's suspension, which we were informed of today. The Orioles support MLB's policy and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing substances from the game," Duquette said. "We have some depth to our left-handed relief ... We can look at those left-handed pitchers for the second left-hander in the 'pen [with Brian Matusz]."