Former Augusta GreenJackets pitcher Thomas King, who spent the first two months this season with the team, has been suspended 50 games for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, the commissioner of baseball's office announced on Friday.
King, a 23-year-old right-handed reliever, was reportedly suspended because he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
He pitched in 10 games for the GreenJackets from April 8 to May 31, earning a save and posting a 2.70 ERA.
Augusta released King in late June, and manager Roberto Kelly said Friday night he hopes the rest of the team takes notice of the suspension.
"That's something you certainly don't want to hear. I hope it doesn't affect his career too badly," Kelly said. "I hope all the guys read that and take it into consideration.
"It just shows you that if you want to get somewhere in this business, you've got to keep your nose clean."
Last year, King was 3-4 with a 3.67 ERA at high Class A San Jose in the Giants system. He was sent down to Augusta to start this season. Because he has been released, King would have to immediately begin the suspension if he signs with another organization.
RE-RE-RECYCLE: Three minor leaguers hit for the cycle Thursday.
Derek Bruce, of Class A Visalia (Calif.), cycled with a ninth-inning triple; Chris Dickerson, of Triple-A Louisville (Ky.), cycled with a double in the ninth; and Jordan Parraz, of Class A Lexington (Ky.), needed a 14th-inning single to accomplish the feat.
Bruce (Diamondbacks) went 4-for-5 in Visalia's 9-3 win at San Jose. He homered in the second, singled in the fourth and doubled in the sixth.
Dickerson (Reds) singled in the first, homered in the fifth and tripled in the sixth in Louisville's 13-7 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Pa).
Parraz (Astros) tripled in the second, doubled in the fourth and homered in the eighth in a 6-5 loss to Lakewood (N.J.).
ON THE MOVE AGAIN: Former Atlanta Braves prospect Max Ramirez, who was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 2006 for closer Bob Wickman, became another key trade piece on Friday.
Texas traded outfielder Kenny Lofton to Cleveland for Ramirez, a former infielder who was converted to catcher by the Braves in 2005.
Ramirez hit .285 last year for Rome, helping the South Atlantic League Braves hold off Augusta for the first-half Southern Division championship.
TROUBLE BREWING: Milwaukee Brewers catching prospect Angel Salome, who spent parts of the past two seasons with West Virginia of the South Atlantic League, was suspended 50 games this week for failing a drug test, according to Baseball America.
Salome hit .292 last year with the Power and was hitting .318 for high Class A Brevard County (Fla.), but struggled to throw out base stealers (13 percent).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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