Washington Nationals catcher Tres Barrera was suspended for 80 games after testing positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, a violation of MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Barrera, 25, debuted for the Nationals in September and was on the 40-man roster.

In a statement through the MLB Players Association on Saturday, Barrera said he went through an appeals process and an arbitrator decided to uphold his suspension. Barrera’s teammates learned of his suspension Thursday in the hours before opening the season against the New York Yankees.

“From the initial drug test to losing the appeal, this all has come as a complete surprise, as I have never, and will never knowingly use a banned substance,” Barrera said in the statement. “I have worked too hard and give too much to this sport to disrespect or cheat the game that I love. I would never do anything to dishonor my family, teammates, and coaches or do anything to let down the many young ball players that look up to me.”

Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, abbreviated as DHCMT, is an anabolic steroid that has long been prohibited in sports. It is also known by the brand name Oral Turinabol and was developed in the 1960s by a drug company in East Germany. Multiple reports on DHCMT indicate that, since it came to the United States, multiple athletes have unknowingly consumed it in supplements.

This season, Barrera was set to be one of Washington’s extra catchers behind Kurt Suzuki and Yan Gomes. That group is now thinned after Barrera’s suspension and veteran Welington Castillo’s decision to opt out of playing in 2020 because of coronavirus concerns. Left is Raudy Read, who is on the active roster, and reserves Jakson Reetz and Taylor Gushue.

Barrera has stood out with his defense and game-calling in recent minor league seasons. The Nationals like that the Mexican American catcher can speak to pitchers in both English and fluent Spanish. Now, after Saturday’s news, he won’t be on the field until next spring.

“I apologize to the Nationals organization, my teammates, fans, and my family for the negative attention this has brought,” Barrera continued in the statement. “I will continue to work to find answers to the many questions that remain surrounding this drug to clear my name, but most importantly to prevent this from happening to anyone else. I look forward to returning to baseball and contributing to the team alongside my brothers.”

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