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Former first-rounder Sale gets second suspension

ARLINGTON -- Rays Minor League outfielder Josh Sale has been suspended again.

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced Tuesday that Sale has received a 50-game suspension without pay after a second positive test for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The suspension of Sale, who is currently on the roster of the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs of the Florida State League, is effective immediately.

Sale, who was the 17th overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, also was suspended at the end of the 2012 season for violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The club also suspended him indefinitely in 2013 for "conduct detrimental to the organization."

Sale was hitting .238 with four home runs and 46 RBIs in 90 games for Charlotte this season.

Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics offered the following:

"We are very disappointed in what Josh has done. He will follow all guidelines that MLB's Minor League drug program has laid out, and will work closely with our Employee Assistance Program to determine a way forward."

The opinion in the Rays' clubhouse was less than sympathetic for Sale.

"I just heard about it," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I don't know the kid really well. The rules are in place. We all know what's going on. He has nobody to blame but himself in this situation. And that's it. ... Just the fact the rules are in place, the system is working, he's got to be held accountable to it."

Rays rookie outfield Kevin Kiermaier was drafted in the 31st round the same year the Rays selected Sale.

When asked if he felt bad for Sale, Kiermaier noted "you control your own destiny."

"And he hasn't made many good decisions, so the main thing is we control our own destiny," Kiermaier said. "We control what we put into our bodies. It's a big risk that guy's taking. It's unfortunate it happened."

Kiermaier remembered the 2012 season, when the Rays organization had troubles with Minor Leaguers getting suspended.

"[In 2012] we led all of baseball with suspensions," Kiermaier said. "I remember that first day of Spring Training that following year, Mitch Lukevics was the first one to talk. He's usually a calm guy. But man, he let us have it. 'It is an embarrassment to the Rays organization, it's an embarrassment to you, your family.' A little bit of everything.

"So [the Rays organization does not] take it lightly. Like I say, it's just too bad that guy's still doing that stuff, because we have a great opportunity to play baseball every day for a living. ... We all know what we sign up for. There's certain things we're allowed to do and certain things we aren't. Drugs, there's no place for it. Everybody feels bad for him. I don't know why."

Kiermaier did not enjoy the guilt by association created by Sale's previous suspension.

"We're all rooting for each other," Kiermaier said. "We're a team. But at the same time, there are certain things like that. I don't associate myself with the guys who do that. There's a lot of guys who do everything the right way, and there's guys like that who make boneheaded mistakes like that.

"It just goes back to you control your own destiny. You know what it takes to make it. And you know what you can put in and what you can't put in your bodies. Guys that take that risk and do some drugs here and there and get caught with it, especially repeat offenders, it's just like, 'What are you doing?' And everybody finds out about it."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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