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Braves lose 9 international players in MLB sanctions

Former Braves general manager John Coppolella speaks during

Former Braves general manager John Coppolella speaks during a baseball news conference at Turner Field in Atlanta on Oct. 1, 2015. Credit: AP / Hyosub Shin

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has hit the Atlanta Braves with heavy sanctions, including the loss of nine players, for rules violations committed by the team in the international player market.

Manfred on Tuesday also placed former Braves general manager John Coppolella on the permanently ineligible list. Former Braves Special Assistant Gordon Blakeley, the team’s international scouting chief, is suspended from performing services for any team for one year.

Manfred says an investigation conducted by Major League Baseball determined the Braves circumvented international signing rules from 2015 through 2017, by moving bonus pool money from one player to boost another player’s contract.

Most notable among the nine players the Braves will lose is Kevin Maitan, an infielder from Venezuela who signed for $4.25 million in 2016.

Five minor-leaguers suspended

Five minor league pitchers have been suspended for drug violations, the commissioner’s office announced Tuesday.

Three of the players are part of the Toronto system. Righthander Juan Jimenez and lefthander Naswell Paulino were each suspended for 72 games, and righty Jol Concepcion was banned for 60 games. Jimenez, Paulino and Concepcion tested for Boldenone, a performance-enhancing substance.

Jimenez and Paulino are on the roster for the rookie-level Dominican Summer League Blue Jays, and Concepcion is on the roster of the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Blue Jays.

Kansas City minor leaguer Travis Eckert and free-agent lefty Kevin Duchene each tested positive for a drug of abuse. Eckert was suspended for 50 games following a second positive test, and Duchene received a 100-game penalty following a third positive test.

Eckert is on the roster for Single-A Lexington of the South Atlantic League.

New York Sports