Indians' Abraham Almonte suspended 80 games by MLB after positive test for steroid

Indians' Abraham Almonte suspended 80 games by MLB after positive test for steroid
Cleveland outfielder Abraham Almonte can participate in spring training but will miss 80 games this season after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. (Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

Indians outfielder Abraham Almonte has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

MLB said Friday that Almonte tested positive for Boldenone, an anabolic steroid generally used by veterinarians on horses.


Indians General Manager Mike Chernoff and Manager Terry Francona had high expectations this season for the 26-year-old outfielder.

"It's extremely disappointing. Abe has accepted responsibility for the test results as he talked with me and Tito," Chernoff said. "We were hoping that he would be a large contributor for our major league team this year and for the first 80 games, he can't do that."

The 26-year-old outfielder will not be allowed to play in regular season games until July, but can play in spring training. Almonte was competing for a starting job in the outfield while Michael Brantley works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Acquired by the Indians on July 31, 2015, in a deal for left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski, Almonte played 51 games for Cleveland last season, hitting .264 with five home runs and 20 RBIs.

Almonte's on-field play impressed the team. So did his clubhouse presence.

"I think the best way I could describe it is, he paid attention to detail so well. I mean that in a complimentary way," Francona said. "It was just a really nice acquisition for us at a time when guys are leaving and some young kids are coming. He did a really good job of solidifying that."

Chapman back with Yankees

Closer Aroldis Chapman rejoined the New York Yankees after missing two days of spring training because he was tending to a family matter.

In his third mound session for his new team, Chapman threw 35 pitches Friday. He was away Thursday and also had an excused absence on Monday. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild said depending on how Chapman feels Saturday, the hard-throwing lefty could soon be ready to toss batting practice.

Chapman is under investigation by Major League Baseball under the sport's new domestic violence policy for an incident at his house in Florida in October involving his girlfriend. Chapman is alleged to have fired a gun during the encounter. Prosecutors declined to file charges. Chapman said he would appeal any suspension to baseball's arbitrator.

Darvish rehab progresses

Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish is close to getting back on a full-size mound for the first time in nearly a year after elbow surgery. That could come in his next bullpen session after throwing off a half-mound Friday for the third time in five days.

"Another really good day," new pitching coach Doug Brocail said after Darvish's 25-pitch session.



Edwin Encarnacion reported to Toronto Blue Jays camp Friday morning for the team's first full-squad workout with a number in his head. "I want to hit 40 homers," he said with a laugh. ... Outfielder Drew Stubbs has agreed to a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers, and the outfielder is expected to be in their major league camp Saturday. ... The Cleveland Indians have agreed to a one-year minor league deal with 33-year-old outfielder Will Venable. ... The Cubs have signed veteran outfielder Shane Victorino to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.