Major League Baseball announced Thursday that Nationals minor league right-hander Zechry Zinicola has received a 50-game suspension following a second violation of the Minor League Druf Prevention and Treatment Program for a drug of abuse.
Zinicola, 26, appeared in 32 games as a reliever in the Nationals’ minor league system in 2011, pitching in 11 games for Double-A Harrisburg and 21 for Triple-A Syracuse. He finished the season with a 2.01 ERA in 40 1/3 innings of work.
The suspension appears to be for a recreational drug, as it’s referred to as a “drug of abuse,” as opposed to a performance enhancing one. Zinicola told MLB.com late Thursday afternoon that his second violation may have come from his use of synthetic marijuana.
Zinicola was a sixth-round pick of the Nationals out of Arizona State University in the 2006 draft and has pitched as high as the Triple-A level since the 2009 season. His suspension will go into effect at the start of the 2012 season.