BALTIMORE - With the Orioles closing fast on the AL East title, their pursuit hit a considerable speed bump Friday when Chris Davis was suspended for 25 games because of a second positive test for amphetamines.
After serving the final 17 regular-season games, he will miss eight playoff games if the Orioles play that many, taking him completely out of the ALDS.
"I'm disappointed. I know Chris is, too,'' said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who received a phone call from Davis at about 8 p.m. Thursday. "It is what it is. So we're going to try to deal with it and move on. The timing is never good, but it's one of those challenges.''
Major League Baseball announced the Davis penalty roughly two hours before the first pitch of Friday's split doubleheader between the Yankees and Orioles at Camden Yards. Shortly afterward, Davis released his own statement, saying the banned drug was Adderall.
"I apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Orioles organization and especially the fans,'' he said. "I made a mistake by taking Adderall. I had permission to use it in the past but do not have a therapeutic use exemption this year. I accept my punishment and will begin serving my suspension immediately.''
In March, MLB and the Players Association agreed to stiffer performance-enhancing-drugs penalties that now include an 80-game suspension for a first positive, a full season for a second and a lifetime ban for a third. Stimulants such as Adderall still carry a lesser penalty.
Adderall is prescribed in the treatment of attention deficit disorder, but MLB players must receive a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for it to be approved. Through last year's postseason, 119 TUEs were issued for players on 40-man rosters. While the Joint Drug Agreement categorizes the drug as a stimulant rather than a steroid-related PED, it also is considered to have performance-enhancing qualities.
A year ago, Davis, 28, finished third in the MVP voting behind Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout. He hit .286 and led the major leagues with 53 home runs and 138 RBIs.
This season, Davis' slugging percentage (.404) has fallen 230 points, raising questions about whether those 2013 numbers were the result of previous PED usage. He is hitting .196 with 26 homers and 72 RBIs.
Davis joins injured Matt Wieters and Manny Machado as the third All-Star to go missing from Baltimore's lineup this year.
"At this point, it's not up to me to gauge fair or what's not fair,'' Showalter said. "You take what's coming your way and you deal with it. Everybody knows what the rules are. We all have made mistakes, and none of us would like to have our whole lives judged by our worst decision.''