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Paul Campbell suspended 80 games for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone

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Despite chemical assistance, Campbell had been the weakest link on the Marlins pitching staff.

Miami Marlins v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Effective immediately, Marlins right-hander Paul Campbell has begun serving an 80-game suspension without pay from Major League Baseball after testing positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (DHCMT), better known as Oral Turinabol. It’s an anabolic steroid.

General manager Kim Ng briefly expressed her disappointment about the news. Campbell released his own statement through the MLB Players Association, claiming that he “never knowingly, willingly or intentionally ingested this substance”:

@MLBPA_News/Twitter

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Campbell is the 22nd player since 2015 who’s been suspended by MLB due to alleged DHCMT use. Health experts quoted in Rosenthal’s report raise concerns about the drug’s M3 metabolite lingering in a person’s body for years after initial use, as well as the potential for other, legal supplements to produce a positive test for DHCMT.

Campbell may be getting screwed here.

Clean or not, the Rule 5 draft pick was in the midst of a difficult rookie season. Campbell had posted a 8.74 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 2.21 WHIP in 11.1 IP (5 G). Making his first career start last Saturday, he threw strikes more consistently than in his previous appearances, but surrendered nine hits to the Nationals and was pulled with two outs in the fourth inning. The assumption was that he would have the opportunity to stick in the Marlins rotation until Elieser Hernandez returned from the injured list.

For the duration of his suspension, Campbell will go on the restricted list. That means he will not count against the 40-man roster or 26-man active roster. He’ll be eligible for reinstatement on August 4 (if the Marlins actually hold onto him until then, which is far from a guarantee).

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The Marlins already intended to make a roster move on Tuesday. Don Mattingly sounded optimistic about Brian Anderson being ready to return from the IL (young infielder José Devers is the logical candidate to be optioned in a corresponding move). But now, Miami will need pitching reinforcements, too.

Nick Neidert could be recalled prior to the Diamondbacks series, penciled in for Thursday’s start while also being available out of the bullpen if an emergency occurs on Tuesday or Wednesday. Campbell’s absence increases the likelihood that early-season success story Jordan Holloway sticks in the majors for an extended period.

Looking ahead a bit further, the Marlins recently re-signed right-hander Josh A. Smith and assigned him to their Triple-A Jacksonville affiliate. He might not be much of an upgrade over Campbell—6.84 ERA, 4.67 FIP, 1.67 WHIP in 26.1 IP last season—but as mentioned in Saturday’s game recap, I suspect that they would prefer to use him as rotation filler rather than interrupt the development of a highly regarded pitching prospect. With a 40-man spot suddenly available, Smith has a strong chance of being selected to the roster in the coming weeks.

More to come...