According to reports from the Associated Press, Tampa Bay Rays’ infielder/outfielder Coty Blanchard has been suspended 50 games after testing positive for an amphetamine. The commissioner’s office announced the suspension on Tuesday.
Coty Blanchard’s father, Fran Blanchard, was in contact with his son on Wednesday morning. He said the substance the former Cherokee County High School and Jacksonville State University standout tested positive for was a supplement called Assault.
According to supplementreviews.com, Assault is a pre-workout enhancer manufactured by Muscle Pharm designed to help provide a pre-training advantage by increasing mental focus, muscle performance, endurance and blood flow. It is available online and in most general nutrition stores.
Fran Blanchard said his son is appealing the suspension.
“He does have an appeal in, but it may be a long shot,” Fran Blanchard said. “It (Assault) is on the (Minor League Baseball banned substance) list, and they’re pretty set on that. You’ve really got to watch that stuff.”
Blanchard was playing for the Rays’ Class A affiliate in Bowling Green, Ky. His last game prior to the announced suspension was Monday night against the Great Lakes Loons. Blanchard played left field and went 2-for-2 at the plate with a pair of walks and three runs in the Hot Rods’ 8-4 victory.
For the season, the 23-year-old Blanchard is hitting .314 with a homer and 18 RBI.
Fran Blanchard said his son will head back to extended spring training in Florida throughout the appeal process.
“I just hate it because of the season he’s having,” Fran Blanchard said. “He’s broken hearted. I could see if it were marijuana or steroids or something of that nature. Some of the things they ban are crazy. You’ve really got to watch the way you talk, the way you walk, the way you eat, everything.”
Tampa Bay drafted Coty Blanchard with the 458th pick in the 15th round of the 2013 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. He signed a five-year contract with the team.
In his high school career, Coty Blanchard guided the Cherokee County Warrior football team to two straight Class 4A state championship games, including the 2009 state title, capping a 15-0 season. It was the school’s first state championship in football.
Following that championship season, Coty Blanchard was named the 28th recipient of the Alabama Sportswriters Association Mr. Football Award. He was also a first-team selection to the Class 4A All-State Team, the Class 4A Back of the Year, and named Gatorade’s Alabama Player of the Year.
Coty Blanchard completed 200 of 289 passing attempts for 2,916 yards, 35 touchdowns and had just four interceptions. He also led Cherokee County in rushing with 1,161 yards and 20 touchdowns on 151 carries. Coty Blanchard topped off his high school career by representing the state of Alabama in the annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star football game.
Coty Blanchard finished with 6,948 yards passing and 75 touchdowns. He ran for 2,381 yards and 38 scores as a three-year starter at Cherokee County.
The younger Blanchard was originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2010 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft with 1,228th pick in the 41st round, but elected not to sign with the team and began a two-sport career at Jacksonville State.
His success in high school followed him to college. He made an immediate impact on the football field his freshman year, perhaps best know for leading the Gamecocks to a stunning upset at Ole Miss in double overtime, 49-48.
But baseball was where Coty Blanchard’s athletic future was destined, as he signed with the Rays in 2013.
Last season with the Rays’ Class A Short Season Affiliate, the Hudson Valley (NY) Renegades, Coty Blanchard batted .298 with 15 doubles, five triples, two homers, 24 walks, 35 runs and 30 RBIs. He was chosen to the New York-Penn League All-Star Game last August and was later invited to play with the big league club for three games during spring training in April.