Earlier today, Bob Dutton reported that Mariners' LHP David Rollins tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug. He will be suspended for 80 games.
#Mariners LHP David Rollins receives 80-game suspension from Major League Baseball after testing positive for a banned steroid.— Bob Dutton (@TNT_Mariners) March 27, 2015
It's a disappointing end to a promising spring for the lefty reliever. In seven spring appearances, he had a dominant 1.13 ERA and 0.63 WHIP. Many were assuming that he would make the major league roster as the second lefty in the bullpen.
Here's what Rollins had to say about the whole situation:
"It's tough. I've thought about it. It's been heavy on my heart. It hasn't been easy the past couple of days. I'm just glad I got the opportunity to show them that I can compete. But I made one bad decision and it's costing me."
From the same article, here's Jack Zduriencik's reaction:
"It's unfortunate. He was in a good position with how he was pitching and where he was at with the ball club. But now you just have to recalculate. We'll stand by him and walk him through this. There's a lot yet to be determined with his Rule 5 status and how that all plays out. We don't have all the answers right now."
Rollins, for his part, will stay with the organization during his suspension. He will be allowed to continue to work out at the Mariners' Peoria facilities and participate in extended Spring Training but he will not be able to complete in any minor league games. He will also be removed from the 40-man roster, opening up a spot for someone like Tyler Olsen or Joe Saunders.
Obviously, the competition for the last spot in the bullpen is now up in the air. Olsen and Saunders are the two lefty relievers who may have a chance to claim the last spot in the bullpen. However, recent comments from Lloyd McClendon seem to indicate that carrying a second lefty isn't necessarily a guarantee. He's looking to assemble the best bullpen regardless of handedness. That opens up the competition to Carson Smith and possibly even Erasmo Ramirez.
Either way, the two biggest roster competitions this spring weren't decided by results on the field but by extraneous circumstances. That's certainly not an ideal way to come to a conclusion. We'll see what the next week holds for the remaining relievers in camp.