Baseball: Matt Milroy banned 50 games for drug violation
By Rick Armstrong firstname.lastname@example.org August 10, 2012 5:58PM
Former Marmion star Matt Milroy, a Class A pitcher in the Miami Marlins organization, has been suspended 50 games for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy. | Photo Courtesy of Denny Kyser
Updated: November 30, 2012 11:00AM
Matt Milroy takes full responsibility for taking what he says he found out later was a pre-workout supplement that had an illegal substance.
“It was my mistake. I didn’t do my research,” said the 21-year-old right-handed pitcher in the Miami Marlins’ organization.
He was one of three pitchers receiving a 50-game suspension announced Thursday by Major League Baseball for testing positive for use of a banned substance — Methylhexeanamine.
“It had nothing to do with the training staff. It was my choice to take the supplement and take it without checking with the trainers,” said Milroy, who was 2-3 with a 4.11 ERA in nine outings since joining the Jamestown Jammers, Miami’s short-season Class A team in the New York-Penn League, in June.
The two-time Beacon News Baseball Player of the Year (2008-09) from Marmion Academy was drafted out of the University of Illinois in the 11th round of this year’s free agent draft. He received a $100,000 bonus to sign according to multiple reports.
“I had run out of a pre-workout supplement that I had been taking at school and at home before the draft that apparently has an energy ingredient that was illegal,” said Milroy. “(Methylhexeanamine) is apparently found in certain pre-workout supplements. I hadn’t really done my complete research on it.”
Milroy said he thought the over-the-counter supplement, which he wouldn’t divulge, was similar to “pre-workout supplements a lot of athletes take. It’s not uncommon.”
A report on MiLB.com, the official website of minor league baseball, said the “substance was initially created as a nasal decongestant, but it goes by a variety of names and can be found in some muscle-building products as an energy booster.”
Five players have been suspended this year for using it. Eight players total were suspended this week for violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, bringing the total for the year to 65.
“It’s definitely my responsibility,” Milroy repeated. “It’s something I’ll have to deal with. The coaches and organization are behind me. They know I wasn’t trying to cheat.”
Milroy has returned to his parents’ Batavia home and will miss his team’s remaining 22 games. After the 2013 spring training, he will serve the rest of the suspension with his new team.
“I can only tell you he was placed on the restricted list,” said Jammers’ media relations officer Justin Michael. “Milroy is still under contract but will not pitch (and will not be paid) the remainder of the season.”
The other two players suspended were Milroy’s teammate, righty Bryan Berglund and Pittsburgh lefty Zack Dodson. Berglund, also 21, wasn’t as fortunate after he was suspended for the same substance. The Marlins released him. Now a free agent, he will have to serve his suspension with any other organization that signs him.
Dodson was suspended for a second violation for what MiLB.com termed a “drug of abuse.”
Berglund was a second-round draft choice for the team in 2009, signed late that year but then missed the next two seasons with shoulder injuries. He didn’t make his pro debut until this past June with the Jammers.
“I don’t really think I should comment on (Berglund’s situation),” said Milroy. “That was the organization’s decision. Yes, it was the same supplement. It wasn’t anything we were doing together. Obviously, it’s something I’m not proud of happening.”
Michael referred other questions to the Marlins’ media relations coordinator, Jon Alvarez, who did not respond to a Beacon News e-mail.
Milroy said this was not the first time he had been tested, “about once every month, I’d say.”
He said he’s since learned “the ingredient isn’t in your body for very long since it is just an energy ingredient.”
Milroy was drafted after posting a 5-10 record with a 5.72 ERA in 43 appearances in his three seasons at Illinois. His fastball was clocked in the low 90s and he has a good slider and was thought to be a strong prospect who needed to harness control issues. He had 105 strikeouts and 84 walks in 111 innings pitched for the Illini. He had 30 strikeouts with 23 walks in 35 innings of work for Jamestown.
“I can take it one of two ways,” said Milroy. “It’s something that maybe puts me down in the dumps or now I need to work even harder.”
He said he plans to choose the latter.