NEW YORK — Highly touted Colorado Rockies minor league third baseman Colton Welker was suspended 80 games by the commissioner’s office Thursday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
The 23-year-old Welker, drafted in 2016 out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, is currently on the roster for Triple-A Albuquerque. His suspension goes into immediate effect and will be without pay.
The substance he tested positive for was Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (DHCMT), which is in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
In a statement, Welker said: “I want to make it very clear that I have never willingly nor intentionally ingested any substance to enhance my athletic performance. Given the information provided to me by the players’ association and laboratory, the amount detected was so minimal that it would have no effect on enhancing my performance.”
“I understand that a number of other players, like me, have tested positive for this metabolite at microscopic levels, and I intend to join them in seeking answers as to how this is happening in order to clear my name,” he said.
The Rockies said in a statement the organization was “disappointed” to announce the suspension and believes that “Colton will learn from this experience.”
Welker was in the running to take over at third for Nolan Arenado after the eight-time Gold Glove winner was traded to St. Louis in the offseason.
A fourth-round draft pick, Welker is a .313 career hitter at four minor league levels with 34 homers and 204 RBIs. He has played mostly third base but has some appearances at first.
This spring, Welker credited his success with a leaner look. He said he dropped about 10 pounds from the year before by cutting out carbs and mixing in more vegetables.
As a shortstop growing up, Welker helped lead Marjory Stoneman Douglas to the state title in 2016. It was a moment of immense pride for the community, which less than two years later was ravaged by the massacre of 17 students, teachers and staff at that same school. Welker routinely works out with Stoneman Douglas players in the offseason.
Chicago Cubs’ Zach Davies, three relievers combine for MLB’s 7th no-hitter
It’s the seventh no-hitter in baseball this season, the most ever before July 1.
Zach Davies pitched the first six innings on Thursday without giving up a hit, but he was pulled for a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh inning after 94 pitches.
Righty Ryan Tepera pitched a clean seventh inning, and lefty Andrew Chafin did the same in the eighth. After walking the leadoff hitter in the ninth, closer Craig Kimbrel finished off the 17th no-hitter in Cubs’ history, striking out Cody Bellinger, Albert Pujols and pinch hitter Will Smith.
The Cubs walked eight batters, the most walks in a no-hitter since the Diamondbacks’ Edwin Jackson walked eight in a 149-pitch no-hitter against the Rays in 2010.
Davies went into the game with a 4.66 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. He walked five batters in the first four innings but stranded them all. He set the Dodgers down in order over his final two innings.
It’s the sixth time in the past 50 years a defending World Series champion has been no-hit. It’s the first time the Dodgers were no-hit since the Cubs did it to them in 2015 with Jake Arrieta on the mound. He starts against them on Friday.
Tampa Bay Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier ends combined no-hit bid after Boston Red Sox pull Nick Pivetta
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Kevin Kiermaier broke up a combined no-hit bid by the Boston Red Sox with a one-out double in the eighth inning and Manuel Margot scored on a wild pitch in the ninth to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 1-0 victory Thursday night.
Joey Wendle was intentionally walked, and Margot dashed home on Barnes’ wild pitch with Francisco Mejía batting.
Kiermaier lined his opposite-field double to left off Darwinzon Hernandez, the third Red Sox pitcher. The Gold Glove center fielder also threw out a runner at the plate in the seventh.
“It was a tied ballgame,” Kiermaier said. “We were just trying to stay the course and try and get something going.”
Boston starter Nick Pivetta was pulled with a runner on second and two outs in the seventh after throwing 100 pitches. His career high is 116.
“To be honest with you, it was the right call. It made the most sense,” said Pivetta, who wanted to stay in the game. “We’re all about winning.”
Pivetta finished with eight strikeouts, two walks and one hit batter. He joined Babe Ruth, on May 20, 1916, against the St. Louis Browns, as the only Red Sox pitchers to be removed with a no-hitter after six or more innings.
“It was amazing,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “He was into it.”
Boston was trying to throw the seventh no-hitter in the majors this season. That would have matched 1990, 1991, 2012 and 2015 for the most since 1900, one shy of the record eight in 1884 — the first season overhand pitching was allowed.
Despite a tough loss that dropped the Red Sox a half-game behind first-place Tampa Bay in the AL East, Cora saw a lot of positives.
“A lot of people, they didn’t believe in this team before the season,” he said. “I think the way we played against these guys tonight shows how good we are. We have a lot of work to do, we know that. We belong in the conversation, we really do.”
“It’s going to be a fun summer in Boston,” Cora added.
Tampa Bay starter Michael Wacha, who took a no-hitter into the fifth, allowed one hit and two walks in five innings. He had seven strikeouts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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