Royals outfielder Jorge Bonifacio has been suspended 80 games without pay for testing positive for Boldenone, a performance enhancing substance banned by MLB.
Bonifacio, 24, has been placed on the restricted list.
Bonifacio's suspension clears a spot on the 40-man roster, making room for the return of third baseman Mike Moustakas, who signed a one-year contract on Saturday morning.
"This is obviously a very disappointing situation for the Royals, our fans and Jorge," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said in a statement. "He is an incredible person who simply made a mistake. Jorge will have our full support as he deals with the consequences of this violation."
Bonifacio is allowed to remain in camp and practice with the team. He will go on a rehab assignment before his suspension is lifted.
“Jorge Bonifacio is one of the finest young guys we've got on this team," manager Ned Yost said after the Royals dropped a 10-3 spring-training game to the Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. "I don't know the details. I still don't. But it was very shocking when Dayton told me this was happening. It really made me kind of sick to my stomach a little bit, because he is such a neat kid and a big part of our team."
Bonifacio came to Royals spring-training camp set to make the opening day roster for the first time in his career. The Royals intended to platoon him with Jorge Soler and rotate him through what Yost described as a revolving designated hitter spot in the lineup. Yost intended for veteran outfielder Jon Jay, who signed a one-year contract with the Royals this week, to also see action as a DH.
With Bonifacio out of the picture until July 1 at the earliest, outfielder Paulo Orlando seems destined to remain on the 25-man roster. Non-roster invitees Michael Saunders and Tyler Collins, who have both impressed Yost throughout the spring, might now receive heavier consideration to join the Royals in Kansas City as well.
Boldenone is an injectable substance commonly used to treat horses. It is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency. It is the same substance Mets closer Jenrry Mejia took when he failed a third drug test and received a lifetime ban from MLB in 2016.
Former top prospect Adalberto Mondesi also served a suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program in 2016. He was suspended 80 games for testing positive for Clenbuterol, but the sentence was reduced to 50 games upon appeal. A trace amount of the drug was detected after he took an over-the-counter medication to treat cold symptoms.
Through nine games this spring, Bonifacio hit 8 for 24 with five doubles, one homer and seven RBIs.
Bonifacio debuted in the major leagues in late April last season and homered off former Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish in his second career game. His 17 home runs ranked seventh-most among American League rookies and most by a Royals rookie since Eric Hosmer hit 19 in 2011. Bonifacio slashed .255/.320/.432 in 113 games with the Royals.
"I think Dayton in his foresight and wisdom has set us up for situations that we can't foresee," Yost said. "With the depth that he has given us and the quality depth he has given us, luckily for us, we're a little bit covered."