Zack Dodson, Pirates Pitching Prospect, Suspended 50 Games For Drug Violation

Pirates pitching prospect Zack Dodson, the Bucs' fourth-round pick in the 2009 draft, has been suspended 50 games for his second violation of the league's drug-abuse policy. It's not clear what drug he allegedly used, although it's a "drug of abuse," which means it's not steroids. Here's Pirates GM Neal Huntington:

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"We are extremely disappointed in Zack's actions and have expressed this disappointment to him. We are working with him to help him understand that he has to make better choices for his own well being and to remain part of the Pirates organization."

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Dodson was already having a mediocre season in Class A West Virginia, striking out 67 batters and walking 40 in 100 innings, and now he'll be suspended through the first several weeks of next season.

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Dodson was already a pretty fringy prospect, but his suspension further decreases the chance that the Pirates will get much out of the 2009 draft. First-rounder Tony Sanchez looks like a potential backup catcher; third-rounder Evan Chambers and fifth-rounder Nathan Baker don't look like prospects; seventh-rounder Trent Stevenson has retired; second-rounder Brooks Pounders, eighth-rounder Colton Cain and 11th-rounder Aaron Baker were used as minor pieces in trades. There's still hope for sixth-rounder Zack Von Rosenberg, but his career hasn't gone as planned. The Pirates' best hopes for that draft come from supplemental pick Victor Black, a potential late-inning reliever, and 21st-rounder Phil Irwin, a possible back-of-the-rotation starter.

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For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

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