Pittsburgh Pirates minor league infielder Andrew Walker was suspended for 50 games by Minor League Baseball for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
No reason was given for the suspension during the announcement, but Pirates Prospects learned last week that Walker was sent home by the Pirates for refusing to take a blood test. He was suspended by the team at the time and now will miss 50 games this season.
Walker was a non-drafted free agent after the 2016 draft. He played 34 games in the GCL in 2016, then split the 2017 season between Morgantown and West Virginia. In 39 games last year, the 24-year-old hit .240/.331/.256, with five stolen bases.
As a non-drafted free agent, he was already fighting an uphill climb, but this will make his future even cloudier in pro ball. The Pirates aren’t required to keep him around to serve his suspension, but they have done that in the past for a couple of players who were released a short time later. If they did release him before the season, his suspension wouldn’t start until he signed with another team.
This is the fourth suspension this season for the Pirates, with minor leaguers Montana DuRapau and Mitchell Tolman each getting 50 games, while Nik Turley got an 80-game suspension because he’s on the Major League roster.