Yesterday, the Baseball Writers' Association of America left two former Astros off the Hall of Fame ballot, at least one in Jeff Bagwell because of suspicions he may have used steroids thanks to the era in which he played and former teammates like Ken Caminiti and Luis Gonzalez. For one current Astro player and top young prospect, it wasn't steroids but the ganja that took him down.
First baseman Jonathan Singleton was suspended by the league on Monday for 50 games due to use of marijuana, the announcement coming from Singleton himself only hours after Bagwell and Craig Biggio's names were left off the Hall of Fame ballot. The young power-hitting prospect is expected to be part of a core of young talent that will ultimate revitalize a franchise that has been one of the worst in baseball the last few years.
Singleton released a statement saying:
I was informed today that I have tested positive for marijuana. As a result, I am being suspended for the first 50 games of the 2013 season. I accept the penalty and take full responsibility for my actions. I apologize to my parents, the Houston Astros and Jeff Luhnow.
The Astros have been nothing but supportive of me and good to me in my short time with the organization. My hope is to use this as a learning experience and spend the rest of my career proving to myself and the baseball community that this was a lapse in judgment, and is not in any way indicative of my character or my dedication to baseball or to my team.
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Singleton would have been invited to spring training this year after hitting 21 home runs and 79 RBIs for AA Corpus Christi last year. Surprisingly, the suspension would not have happened had he been on the major league club because players on 40-man big league rosters are not tested for marijuana, only minor league players are.