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Beckham receives 50-game suspension

Beckham receives 50-game suspension

Beckham receives 50-game suspension
ST. PETERSBURG -- Tim Beckham, who was chosen by the Rays with the top overall pick in the 2008 Draft, has been suspended 50 games after testing positive for marijuana for a second time. Marijuana is considered a drug of abuse and a violation under the Minor League drug program.

"I regret that my poor judgment resulted in me letting my teammates and the Tampa Bay Rays organization down," Beckham said in a statement released by the Rays. "I take full responsibility for my actions and I will use this experience to refocus my commitment to baseball. I recognize that I am blessed to be able to play baseball for a living. I owe it to my teammates, my family, and to myself to respect the game and the responsibilities that go with playing it as a professional. I am sorry."

Andrew Friedman also released a statement about Beckham's suspension.

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"We are very disappointed by Tim's actions," the Rays executive vice president of baseball operations said. "Tim possesses great potential, and he must rededicate himself in order to become the person and player we know he can be."

Beckham was drafted out of high school in Griffin, Ga., and was widely considered the best talent eligible for the Draft. The Rays pulled the trigger on his selection and gave him a $6.15 million signing bonus, passing on talents like catcher Buster Posey, who was drafted fifth by the Giants. Other products of the 2008 Draft include Pedro Alvarez (second, Pittsburgh), Eric Hosmer (third, Kansas City), Posey (fifth, San Francisco), Justin Smoak (11th, Texas) and Brett Lawrie (16th, Milwaukee).

Unfortunately for the Rays, Beckham has yet to live up to the expectations and achieve consistent success in the Minors. The suspension only sets him back further.

Beckham, 22, was off to a slow start this season, hitting .204 in 13 games for Triple-A Durham following a 2011 season when he hit .271 with 12 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A, which fueled the idea he could eventually become a productive Major Leaguer.

Beckham has been in Major League camp the past four years and has been well liked by teammates. He received rave reviews back in the spring. According to Jim Hoff, Rays Minor League field coordinator, Beckham is one of the hardest workers he's ever been around. And Rays manager Joe Maddon didn't see anything wrong with Beckham's pace to the Major Leagues as the Rays manager noted: "Just a natural progression. He'd be a senior in college right now. ... That's kind of nice."

When asked about his progression to the Major Leagues in the spring, Beckham didn't seem too concerned about his pace either.

"I haven't had to really adjust [to the expectations] at all," said Beckham in March. "I just go about my business like I've been doing since Day 1. I hadn't made any major adjustments at all. Just keep working. Keep going about my business, like I said."

Other No. 1 overall picks for the Rays have had their troubles as well, including Josh Hamilton (No. 1 overall pick in 1999), who overcame addiction problems while in the Rays organization to star with the Rangers; and Delmon Young (No. 1 overall pick in 2003), who now plays for the Tigers and was just suspended for an off-the-field incident and resulting arrest in New York. Matt Bush, a converted reliever who was drafted No. 1 by the Padres as a shortstop in 2004, is dealing with court proceedings stemming from DUI and hit-and-run charges while a member of the Rays this spring.

Conversely, David Price (No. 1 overall pick in 2007) has done well on and off the field. Of note, Price is the only one of the group that attended college.

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