By Chris Lingebach

Nationals catcher and 40-man roster holder Raudy Read has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

After a positive test for Boldenone, Read said in a statement, “I have never in my life knowingly used a banned substance.”

“I have been extremely careful and conscience about what I put into my body. I don’t take supplements or anything else on top of my regular diet, which consists simply of chicken, beef, rice and vegetables. So when I heard I tested positive during a routine test this winter, I was shocked. I was convinced there had to be a mistake, and I thought I’d be ok. I hadn’t used anything. So I fought this on appeal, explaining that I had no idea how this positive test could have possibly happened. But without being able to identify the source causing the positive test, I could not prevail.”

Read’s suspension taints what was previously a hallmark of the Nationals organization, one of only five clubs in baseball that had not suffered a PED suspension since the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program began in 2005, the Nationals’ inaugural season in Washington.

“This is a very serious matter — one that I do not take lightly,” said Mike Rizzo, Nationals GM and President of Baseball Operations, in a statement. “We educate players across our system on the program and set the expectation that they full abide by it.”

“I am deeply disappointed in Raudy,” he said. “I have spoken with him directly and he understands that he is ultimately responsible for what he puts into his body. In the end, I hope he learns from this experience.”

Read can begin serving his suspension — without pay — at the beginning of the 2018 regular season. The 24-year-old catcher is the 14th-ranked prospect in the organization and made his Major League debut last season.

Follow @ChrisLingebach and @1067TheFan on Twitter


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