What you need to know about Chris Davis' suspension
By By Alexander Pyles
The Baltimore Sun|
Sep 12, 2014 at 8:36 PM
An already-disappointing season for Orioles slugger Chris Davis came to an abrupt halt on Friday when Major League Baseball announced he would be suspended 25 games for violating baseball's drug policy.
Here are the answers to a few important questions about what that means for Davis and the Orioles.
What did Chris Davis test positive for?
Davis tested positive for Adderall, an amphetamine that is used to treat Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Mike Gimbel, a local substance abuse expert, said the drug would improve its user's focus.
"This is not a muscle builder," he said. "This is an alert builder."
After Friday's doubleheader against the New York Yankees, there are 15 games remaining in the regular season. The earliest he could return is Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, if the Orioles advance that deep into the postseason.
Because the club would need to set its ALCS roster before that series, it's more likely Davis wouldn't play until the World Series.
If the Orioles don't advance that deep into the postseason, whatever remains of Davis' 25-game suspension will be tacked on to the start of the 2015 baseball season.
Adderall is a stimulant, not a steroid, so Davis avoided a lengthier suspension under baseball's drug policy — but this is the second time he's tested positive.
Under the terms of baseball's drug agreement with players, a first offense for a stimulant results in a warning and more testing. A second violation calls for a 25-game suspension and a third results in an 80-game suspension.
Stimulants were banned by baseball after the 2005 season.
Davis said he previously had an exemption for the medication. What does that mean?
In a statement released by the players' association, Davis said he had permission to use the drug in the past because of a therapeutic use exemption, which is given to players who have a prescription.
According to sources familiar with the situation, Davis was previously diagnosed with ADHD and had an exemption to use Adderall when he played with the Texas Rangers.
Players must re-apply for the exemption annually — it's believed Davis did so in 2012 with the Orioles — but Davis' request was rejected. It's unclear why.
How prevalent is the use of Adderall in baseball?
Because the drug increases energy and focus, it's a favorite among ballplayers trying to complete a 162-game season.
Davis is the second Oriole to be suspended for using the drug this year — reliever Troy Patton tested positive at the end of last season and missed this season's first 25 games. He was traded to the San Diego Padres in May.
Nearly 10 percent of MLB players applied to use Adderall last season, according to a report on baseball's drug testing program released last winter. That means 119 players received therapeutic use exemptions.
Is this really a big deal?
It is, according to Gimbel. The drug increases its user's heart rate and blood pressure, and could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
"People kind of blow it off because its not steroids," he said. "But, in my opinion, the effect of Adderall can be more dangerous."