PEORIA, Ariz. — What lefty reliever David Rollins termed “one bad decision” will cost him a chance this spring to pitch his way on the Mariners’ roster.
Rollins received an 80-game suspension Friday from Major League Baseball after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
“This (happened) was when I got back from winter ball,” he said. “I was sore, and I was just trying to speed up the recovery. And just made a bad judgment.”
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said the club was still exploring its options regarding Rollins’ status as a Rule 5 pick but plans to keep him in the organization.
“He’ll come off the 40-man roster,” Zduriencik said. “He’ll be suspended. What we will do is wait for guidance from MLB on how this will all be handled.
“But he’s our property during the 80-game suspension. He will be allowed to stay here in Arizona. He will be under our supervision, and he can pitch and continue to work with the extended team.”
The suspension cancels what has been a breakout spring by Rollins following his selection last December from Houston in the Rule 5 Draft. He has allowed one run and five hits in eight innings over seven appearances.
“It’s unfortunate,” Zduriencik said. “He was in good position in how he was pitching and where he was at with the ballclub. But now, you just have to recalculate. We’ll stand by him. We’ll walk him through this.”
The MLB release said Rollins tested positive for Stanozolol, an anabolic steroid that is often used by bodybuilders to build muscle mass. Rollins said he did not plan to appeal.
“Just accepting it and trying to move forward from it,” he said. “It’s been heavy on my heart. It hasn’t been easy for me the past couple of days. I’m just glad I’ve gotten an opportunity to show what I can be.
“I just made one bad decision. It’s costing me.”
Rollins’ suspension leaves rookie Tyler Olson and veteran Joe Saunders as the leading candidates if the Mariners choose to keep a second lefty reliever in addition to Charlie Furbush.
“Obviously, there’s two left instead of three,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “(Rollins) was performing well.”
Olson has not allowed an earned run in 9 2/3 innings over eight appearances, while Saunders have given up nine runs and 12 hits in 6 1/3 innings in six outings.
Rollins loomed as the favorite for the job because his Rule 5 status would have prevented the Mariners from sending him to the minors unless he cleared waivers and Houston rejected the chance to reacquire him for $25,000.
“It was a mistake on my part,” he said. “It was very bad judgment by myself, and I’ve been regretting it ever since.
“It’s been tough for me and my family, and I just want to apologize to my fans, my family, the Seattle organization and everybody else that I’ve disappointed. I deeply regret what I did.”