April 20, 2015 / 6:04 PM / 4 years ago

Braves pitcher banned 80 games for failed drug test

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Andrew McKirahan (52) throws a pitch during the seventh inning in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Apr 19, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Atlanta Braves reliever Andrew McKirahan has been suspended for 80 games after failing a drug test, Major League Baseball said on Monday.

The 25-year-old left-handed pitcher tested positive for Ipamorelin, a performance-enhancing substance, in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

McKirahan, who was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 21st round of the 2011 amateur draft, appeared in three games for Atlanta this season and compiled a 4.15 earned run average in 4-1/3 innings.

“We are disappointed in the decision Andrew made,” Braves president of baseball operations John Hart said.

“We are disappointed for him and for the ball club. This was a guy who was beginning to pitch meaningful innings for us. The guys have been grinding. This was not good for the club.”

The early MLB season has seen a rash of positive drug tests.

Also hit with 80-game suspensions were New York Mets closer Jenrry Mejia and Minnesota Twins starter Ervin Santana.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue

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